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Full text of "Early Dayton : with important facts and incidents from the founding of the city of Dayton, Ohio, to the hundredth anniversary, 1796-1896"

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Cornell University Library 
F 499D2 S81 

Early Dayton : with important facts and 


3 1924 028 849 283 













U. S. publtsl^tng Ejouse 

W. J. Shuey, Publisher 


copyeisht, 1895 

By Maey Da vies Steele 

All rights reserved 


TOr. and TOra. Frank QlnnaMEr, 






M. D. S. 


The illustrations contained in this volume have been carefully 
selected, and include a number which have never before been 
published. Among these are portraits of Benjamin Van Cleve, 
Colonel George Newcom and his daughter, Mi-s. Jane Wilson, a 
view of Main Street in 1855 from a water-color by John W. Van 
Cleve, and a copy of the original plan of the city as found in 
the records of Hamilton County. For these portraits and the 
view of Main Street the publisher desires to acknowledge his 
obligation to Mrs. Thomas Dover, Mrs. Josiah Gebhart, and Miss 
Martha Holt, in whose possession are the valuable originals, and 
by whose courtesy they are here reproduced. Special thanks 
are due, also, to Mr. J. H. Patterson for the portrait of his grand- 
father, Colonel Robert Patterson, and to IMiss S. S. Schenck, 
of Washington, D. C, for that of her father. General Robert 
C. Schenck. 

The pictures of the landing of the fli-st settlers, of Xeweom's 
first cabin in 1796, and of Xewcom's Tavern in 1799 have been 
reproduced in accordance with the most reliable information 
which could be obtained, and the artist. Miss Rebekah Rogers, 
has succeeded admirably in this difficult work. 


Perhaps there is no impropriety in saying in a preface to a 
history of Dayton that no one hviug here who has undertaken 
hterary, philauthropie, or other public work can help feeling that 
Dayton is a good place to live in, so ready is the response and 
generous the support and appreciation received. Thus, it seems 
to the student of our history, it has been from the beginning. 
The imagination catches fire and the heart glows with enthusiasm 
over the stoiy of the labors for the public good which the pioneers 
shared, and the respect and admiration which they felt for the 
benefactors of their beloved town. They should be held up as 
examples to our youth, and their biographies used as manuals for 
training in noble character. 

One lougs for the power to make the old times and the old 
settlers live again, with their contented but simple and unadorned 
domestic lives, their home-made buckskin or linsey-woolsey 
garments, their limited and cautious business undertakings, con- 
trasting strangely with exciting jjerils in storms and floods and 
dangerous adventures with wild beasts and Indians — to tell a 
story with the genuine pioneer flavor which descendants of the 
forefathers would read with relish and profit. 

''Early Dayton" is written from tlie personal and social stand- 
point, and it was not the intention to give a complete and 
consecutive account of the growtli of the corporation and the 
business interests of the city. Biographies, with a few necessary 
exceptions, have not been in.serted after the pioneer period. Had 
the lives of sons and grandchildren as well as of grandparents 
been written, the history would have filled more than one large 

In the spring and summer of 1895, at the request of Mr. H. H. 
Weakley, who has in many practical ways shown his interest in 
Dayton and its writers, I wrote a series of letters on the early his- 
tory of Dayton for the Herald. These letters, which were received 
with many words of commendation both to author and publisher, 


form the basis of the present volume, though large and important 
additions have been made. I was so fortunate as to obtain, 
through conversation and correspondence with descendants of 
pioneers, some facts and anecdotes never before published. 

Free use has been made of the chapters in the "History of 
Dayton" written by my father shortly before his death, and his 
name appears with mine on the title-page. 

When the manuscript of "Early Dayton" was almost finished, 
circumstances rendered it necessary for me to abandon all literary 
work. My friend Miss Harriet M. King, a bom student and excel- 
lent writer, generously volunteered to write the concluding two 
chapters { Chapters X and XI ) of the book, bringing it do-\\-n to 
date. It requires literary skill to write a brief and condensed yet 
clear and interesting account of an extended period. Miss King 
has told the story of modern Dayton in a charming manner, and 
those who read her valuable contribution will perceive how greatly 
indebted I am to her. Words fail me when I attempt to express 
my oljligation. 

From Mr. E. L. Shuey I received, while my history was being 
written and published, assistance and encouragement of a very 
unusual kind, for wliich I am deeply grateful. I desire to make 
similar aelvnowledgmeuts to ]Mr. W. A. Shuey, who not only 
relieved me of responsibility and labor, but secure(l the accuracj' 
and added to the merit of the volume by his careful proof-reading 
and general supervision, his elaborate index and table (jf contents, 
and the excellent illustrations ^^'hich he procured ; but, above all, 
by his interesting and useful "Chronological Record" and "His- 
torical and Statistical Tables" for ready reference, which cover the 
history and progress of this region from 1749 to 1S96. If all pub- 
lishers were like mine, societies for the protection of authore would 
never have existed. I cannot let slip the opportunity to express my 
appreciation of the interest ISIr. W. L. Blocher has shown in secur- 
ing the mechanical perfection of various literary productions of 
mine. I am under obligations to the United Brethren Publishing 
House for tlieir courtesy in allowing me tlie unrestricted use of the 
"Historj- of Daj'ton," of which thej- own the copyright. 

Mary Davies Steei.e. 

Dayton, Ohio, February 1, ISiHi. 





Gist's Visit to the Miami Valley in 1751 — Valuable Timber — Well 
Watered — Wild Animals — Natural Meadows — A Most Delightful 
Country — Fertility and Beauty — Keutackians Long to Dispossess 
the Indians — The Valley Called the Miami Wlaughter-House — Dayton '^ 
on the Site of the Indian Hunting-Ground — A Favorite Rendezvous 
for Indian Hunting and War Parties — General George Rogers Clark's 
Expedition to Ohio — Clark's Second Expedition — Skirmish on Site 
of Dayton — Logan's Campaign in 1786 — Second Skirmish on Sit« of 
Dayton — Venice on Site of Dayton — Venice Abandoned — General 
Wayne's Campaign — Treaty of Peace — Site of Dayton Purchased 
from Symmes — Original Proprietors of Dayton — Survey of the Pur- 
chase — D. C. Cooper Cuts a Road — Dayton Laid Out and Named — 
Streets Named — Lottery Held on Site of Town— Lots and Inlots 
Donated to Settlers Drawn — Settlers Permitted to Purchase One 
Hundred and Sixty Acres at a French Crown per Acre — Names of 
Original Settlers of Dayton — Three Parties Leave Cincinnati in 
March, 179G — Hamer's Party Travels in a Two-Horse AVagon — New- 
corn's Party Makes the Journey on Horseback — Thompson's Party 
Ascend the Miami in a Pirogue — Description of the Voyage — Poling 
Up Stream — Beauty of the Landscape — Supper in the Miam-i Woods 
— Names of the Passengers in the Pirogue — Ten Days from Cincinnati 
to Dayton — Mrs. Thompson the First to Land — Indians Encamped 
at Dayton — Land at Head of St. Clair .Street — The Uninhabited 
Forest All that Welcomed Them— Encouraging Indications — Tempo- 
rary Protection — Log Cabins — Wholly Dependent on Each Other's 
Society — Monument Avenue Cleared — Town Covered with Hazelnut 
Thickets — Dr. Elliott's Purple Silk Coat — Dayton Hard to Find by the 
Traveler— Ague — Communal Corn-Ficld — Mary Van Cleve — Indians 
Attack the Thompson Cabin, - - - - , - - - - - - 17 



Daniel C. Cooper— Newcom's Tavern — Cooper Park — Mr. Cooper Be- 
comes Titular Proprietor of the Town — His Improvements and Liber- 
ality—Indians Frequent Visitors — Playing Marbles at Midnight- 
Robert Edgar— First Store in Dayton — Henry Brown — First Flatboat 



— Furniture of the Xine Cabins Constituting Dayton — Food — Game 

— Hogs Introduced- Fish — Blocktiouso for Defense Against Indians 
Built at Dayton — First School in Dayton — Benjamin Van Cleve's 
Autobiography — Early Life of Van Cleve — Battle of Monmouth — 
Wagon Journey of the Van Cleves Across the ilountains — ilurder 
of John Van Cleve at Cincinnati by Indians — Benjamin Van Cleve 
Supports His Father's Family — Self-Educated — Employed in Quar- 
termaster's Department of Western Army — St. Clair's Defeat — Em- 
ployed in Flatboating by Army Contractors — In Charge of Army 
Horses and Cattle — Sent Express to Philadelphia by Quartermas- 
ter's Department — Sent by Geneial Knox from Philadelphia to 
Conduct Pair of Horses to Indian Chief Brant — Quarrel with Gen- 
eral Knox — Meets Brant in New York — Studious Life After Return 
to Philadelphia— Sent West with Dispatches to General Wayne — 
Journey by Boat from Wheeling, Accompanied by Officers and 
Recruits — Cheated Out of His Pay — Flatboating to Kentucky — 
Sutler at Fort Greenville — Sent by Army Contractor to Fort Massac 
with Two Boats Loaded with Provisions — Adventure at Fort ^Massac 
with Major, Called "King," Doyle — Returning, Visits Red Banks, a 
Resort of Thieves and Cutthroats — Drives Cattle to Greenville, Fort 
Wayne, and Fort AVashington — Accompanies Captain Dunlap to 
Make the Survey of the Dayton Settlement — Adventures as a Sur- 
veyor — Keeps Field-Notes During Rain on Blocks of Wood — Settles 

in Dayton — Surveying, Writing, and Farming — Trials, - - - - 29 



Two Houses on Main Street in 1799 — Small Size of Cabins— Description 
by \V. C. Howells of a Home of the Peridd — Newconi's Tavern, First 
House in Dayton, Chinked with jNIortar — Corner Monument Avenue 
and Main Street the Business Center of Dayton — First White Child 
BorniuDayton- Biog raphy of Colonel Newconi— Wearisome Journey 
Through the Woods to Dayton — Camping at Night— Newcom's Tavern 
Described — Relics — Old Clock and Brass Candlestick — First County 
Court Held at Tavern — Money Scarce- Convicted Persons Fined a 
Deerskin or a Bushel of Corn — Sentenced to Thirty-Nine Lashes on 
Bare Back — SheriflT Newcom's Primitive Prison a Corn-Crib and a 
Dry Well — Anecdotes of Visits of Troublesome Indians to the Tav- 
ern—Colonel Newcom Introduces Apples — First Wedding in Dayton 

— Benjamin Van Cleve's Characteristic Account of the Event Mr. 

Van Cleve's Hospitality to Strangers — fsefulness to the New Town — 
W. C. Howells's Description of Social Life in Pioneer Times — Fire- 
Hunting on the Miami- Women Helped Their Husbands in the 
Fields — Dependent on the Husband's and Father's Gun for Meals- 
Pelts and Bear's Oil Articles of Merchandise — Skins Used for Clothes, 
Moccasins, Rugs, and Coverlets — Business Conducted by Barter- 
Ginseng, Peltries, Beeswax, etc.. Used as Jtoney — Cut-Money or 
Sharp Shins — Charges Made in Pounds, Shillings, and Pence — Wild 
Animals — First l\rill, a Corn-Cracker, Built by D. C. Cooper— Log 
Moeting-House Built- Dayton First Cloverned WlioUy by County 
Comniisslouers and Townsliip Assessors- D. V. Cooper Jusfiee of the 


Peace— Early Marriages — Petition Presented to Congress by Settlers 

— The Town Nearly Dies Out— D. C. Cooper, Titular Proprietor, Resus- 
citates It— Town Plats — Basis of Titles — Ohio a State — Montgomery 
SeparatedfroniHamiltonCounty — Population Increases — First Elec- 
tion— First County Court — Mr. Cooper Builds Saw- aud Grist-Mills 

— Levees — New Graveyard- Log-Cabin Meeting-House Sold — New 
First Presbyterian Church — Mr. Cooper's Death — First Jail, - - - 51 



John W. Van Cleve — First White Male Child Born in Dayton — Friend- 
ship for R. W. Steele — Biographies of Van Cleve by R. W. Steele — 
Minutes Kept and Societies Founded by Van Cleve — His Exquisite 
Handwriting — His Versatility aud Thorouglmess — Proficiency' in 
Ancient and Modern Languages — Teaches Latin at College Before 
Graduation — Talent for Mathematics — Translations — Water-Color 
Pictures of Wild Flowers — A True Book-Lover— Studies Law — Edits 
the Dayton Journal — In the Drug Business — Devotes Himself to 
Labors for the Public Good — A Civil Engineer — An Engraver — Tal- 
ent for Painting — Plays Several Musical Instruments — A Botanist 
and Geologist — To Him We Owe Woodland Cemetery — Love of 
Plants and Trees — Plants the Levees with Trees — Surrounds the 
Court-House with Elms — Fondness for Children —Delightful Picnics 

— His Great Size — Interest in Schools and Libraries — Founder and 
Supporter of Dayton Library Association — Free Lectures on Scien- 
tific, Historical, or Literary Subjects — Affection and Pride with 
Which He was Regarded — Devotion to His Kindred- Friendship 
Between Him and His Father — Public Offices in Town That He Held 

— His iiap of Dayton — Writes Songs and Designs and Engraves Illus- 
trations for the Log Cabin —The Whig Glee Club Trained by Professor 
Turpin — Mr. Van Cleve and Others Accompany the Club to the 
Columbus Convention — His Death — His Unbending Integrity and 
Scrupulous Honesty — Council Passes Resolutions of Respect — Dr. T. 
E. Thomas's Funeral Oration — Isaac Spining — William King— The 
Osborns — John H. Williams— The First Postoffice in Dayton — Mail- 
Routes— Post-Rider to Urbana — Trials of Benjamin Van Cleve, First 
Postmaster — His Successor, George S. Houston — Joseph Peirce — 
Joseph H. Crane — Colonel Robert Patterson — Schools— Dayton In- 
corporated— McCuUum's Tavern — Social Library Society, - - - 67 


1S05- 1S09 

First Disastrous Flood — Emigrants from New Jersey- Charles Russell 
Greene — Ferries — First Court-House — First Newspaper — First Brick 
Stores — James Steele — Robert W. Steele — Dayton Academy — James 
Hanna — John Folkerth — First Teachers in the Academy — William 
M. Smith — James H. Mitchell — E. E. Barney — Trustees of Academy 
in 1(>^3 — Collins AVight — Milo G. Williams — Transfer of Academy to 


Board of Education — Henry Bacon — Luther Bruen — Antislavery 
Excitement — Arrest and Suicide of a Fugitive Slave — Colored People 
Leave Dayton for Hayti — A Colonization Society Formed — Anti- 
Blaverj' Society — Union Meeting-House, Principally Built by Luther 
Bruen — Dr. Birney and Mr. Rankin Mobbed — Dr. H. Jewett— Dr. 
John Steele — Advertisement of a Runaway Slave — Jonathan Harsh- 
man— First Brick Residence — The Cannon "Mad Anthony " — Rev. 
James "Welsh, il.D. — Dr. John Elliott — Town Prospering — No Care 
Taken of Streets or Walks — Grimes's Tavern — Alexander Grimes 

— Reid's Inn — Colonel Reid — Second Newspaper, the Repertory — 
Advertisements in the Repertory — Matthew Patton — Abram Darst 

— Pioneer AVonien, 


1S09- 1S12 

AViLiiiA^I EajvER — George W. Smith — Roads — Journeys to the East — 
Goods Brought by Conestoga Wagons and Broadhorns to Ohio — Pack- 
Horses Moving L^p Main Street — Groceries from New Orleans by Keel- 
Boats — A Voyage from New Orleans Described — Country Stores — 
Drinking Customs — Flatboating South — Excitement "When the 
Fleets of Boats Left Dayton— Arrival of a Large Keel-Boat — Fourth 
ol July from LS09 to 1S40— The First Drug-Store — Indians and "Wild 
Animals Both Trotiblesome — Rewards for Wolf-Scalps —New Side- 
walks and Ditches or Gutters — Ohio Centlnel — Earthquakes — William 
Huffman — Ohio Militia Encamped at Dayton — Business Beginning 
of 1812— Horatio G. Phillips — J. D. Phillips — Obadiah B. Conover, - 101 



Dr. JosxSteeIjE— 1812 and 1813 Years of Excitement — Dread of Indians- 
Colonel Johnston's Control of the Indians — ^Madison Orders Out Ohio 
Militia— Battalion Muster at Dayton — Militia Bivouac Without 
Tents at Cooper Park — Crovernor Meigs Arrives — Issues a Call to 
Citizens for Blankets — General Gano and CTcneral Cass Arrive — 
Three Regiments of Infantry Formed — Captain William Van Cleve — 
General Hull Arrives — Governor Jleigs Surrenders Command to Gen- 
eral Hull — TheGovernorand General Reviewthe Troops — The Three 
Regiments JIarch Across Mad River to Camp Meigs- Leave Camp 
Meigs for Detroit — Munger's Brigade Ordered Here to Garrison the 
Town — Hull's Surrender — Consternation of the People — Handbills 
Issued at Dayton Calling for Volunteers — Captain Steele's Company — 
Kentucky Troops Arrive Here — Harrison Calls for Volunteers and 
Horses — Dayton Ladies Make One Thousand Eight Hundred Shirts for 
Soldiers — Ex]iedition Against Indians Near Muncietown — Defeated 
Soldiers Bring Wounded to Dayton —Hospital on Court-Honse Corner 
— War— Jerome Holt — War Ended- Dayton Companies A^'elcomed 
Home- First Dayton Bank— OAm Ccar/ccY— Stone Jail — Mr. For- 
rer's Reminiscences of Dayton in isij— First Methodist Church — 


Willialu Hamer — Aaron Baker — Ohio Repuhlican — Ohio 'Watchman 
— Medical Societies — Dr. Job Haines — Female Charitable and Bible 
Society — First Market-House — Moral Society —Associated Bachelors 
—First Theater, - 115 



New Brick Court-House of 1817— Ferries — First Bridges — Sabbath-School 
Association — Sunday-School Society — Game Abundant — Plights of 
"Wild Pigeons — Migrations of Squirrels — Fish — Stage-Coaches — St. 
Thomas Episcopal Church — Christ Episcopal Church — Shows — Vol- 
unteer Fire Department, 1820 to 1S63 — Leading Citizens Active Mem- 
bers — Feuds Between Rival Engine Companies— Financial Depression, 
1820 to 1822 — Fever — Lancasterian School — Francis Glass — Gridiron 
Newspaper — Miami Hepublican and Dayton jidvertiser — George B. Holt 

— Consolidation of Watchman and Hepublican — jy-CLy ton Journal — Con- 
tribution to the Greek Cause — James Perrine, First Insurance Agent 

— First Baptist Church Built — Letter from Dayton in 1827 — Canal 
Agitation — Dinner and Reception to De Witt Clinton — First Canal- 
Boat Arrives — Enthusiasm of the People — Extension of Canal by 
Cooper Estate — Law Providing for Election of Mayor — Town Divided 
into Wards — Temperance Society — New Market-House — Rivalry 
Between Dayton and Cabintown — Private Schools — Manual-Train- 
ing School — Seely's Basin — Peasley's Garden — Miniature Locomotive 
and Car Exhibited in Methodist Church— Daytonians Take Their 
First Railroad Ride — Seneca Indians Camp at Dayton — First Public 
Schools — Scliool-Directors — Steele's Dam — General R. C. Schenck — 
Political Excitement-Council Cuts Down a Jackson Pole — Cholera 
in 18;32 and 183o — Silk Manufactory — The Dayton Lyceum — Mechan- 
ics* Institute — Six Libraries in Dayton — Eighth of January Barbecue 

>— Town Watchmen — Lafayette Commemorative Services, - - - 135 



Measures Proposed for Improving the Town in 1S36 — Proceedings of 
Council — Public Meeting to Sustain Council — Cooper Park — Dayton 
Business Men in 1836 — Educational Convention in 1836 — Shinplasters 
— Thomas Morrison — Zoological Museum — William Jennison — First 
Railroad — Turnpikes — First Public-School Buildings — Opposition to 
Public Schools — Processions of School Children and Other Eflbrts to 
Excite an Interest in Public Schools — Samuel Forrer Takes Charge 
of Turnpikes — His Biography — Midnight Markets — Cooper Hy- 
draulic — Change of Channel of Mad River — First County Fair — 
Morus MuUicaulis Excitement — Dayton Carpet Manufactory — Num- 
ber of Buildings Erected in 1839 — io^y Cabin Newspaper — Harrison 
Convention — Numbers in Attendance — Hospitality of Dayton Peo- 
ple—Banners Presented, --163 




The Be^nnning of *'tbe Forties" — Distinguished Visitors — Schools — 
Orej^oii- West Dayton — Banivs — Police Department — New Jail and 
Court-Housc — Cemeteries- Dayton Bar — General Robert C. Schenck 

— Clement L. Vallandigham — Thomas Brown — Prominent Physi- 
cians—Public Library — Churches — Floods — Cholera—The Mexican 
"War- First Telegraph Message — Gas and Electric Light— Railroads — 
Street-Railroads— Fire Department— Water- Works — Dayton Orphan 
Asylum — Young Men's Christian Association— Woman's Christian 
Association — Young Women's League — St. Elizabeth Hospital — Prot- 
estant Deaconess Hospital — Musical Societies— Literary Clubs^Im- 
provements — Manufacturing and Mercantile Interests — Natural Gas 

— Newspapers — Periodicals — David Stout — El^enezer Thresher — Val- 
entine Winters — Frederick Gobhart— Robert W. Steele, - - - - 183 


The Opening of the AVar — Fall of Sumter — Recruiting — Dayton Light 
Guards — Light Artillery— Lafayette Guards — Departure of Troops — 
— Anderson Guards — Dayton Riflemen- Zouave Rangers — Buckeye 
Guard — State Guard — Camp Corwin- Camp Dayton — Families of 
Soldiers Cared For — Advance of Kirby Smith — R. C. Schenck Elected 
to Congress — Union League Formed — Arrest of Vallandigham^ — 
Journal Office Burned — Morgan's Raid — Colonel King— £'m/>;Vc Office 
Mobbed — Procession of Wood-Wagons — Women's Work for the Sol- 
diers—The Home-Guard— Return of Companies A and E — Another 
Call for Troops — Last Draft of the War — Lee's Surrender — Assassin- 
ation of Lincoln — Admiral Schenck — Rear- Admiral Greer- Pay- 
master McDanicl — National ^Military Home — Soldiers' Monunaent. - 203 

Colonel, Israel Lu^lI.o^v, ------------ i:;i3 


IjOCATion and .Vrca —Population — Cit,\" Uovernmont and Institutions — 
Mayor- Board of City Affairs— City Council — Board of Elections 

— Bi;iard of Equalization — Miscellaneous — Public Schools — Pubiii.- 
Library — Police Department — Work -House -Fire Department — 
Water -Works — Board of Health — City Intirniary — :Markets — Tax 
Commission— Taxes for 1S94-0(J— Bonded Debt— Periodicals — Churches 

— Church and Private Schools — Benevolent and Charitable Institu- 
tions—Literary and Musical Societies- Political Clubs — Social, 
Cycling, Gymnastic, and Other Clubs — ^Military Companies — Strect- 
Raihvays — Street Improvements — Commercial and Industrial — Post- 
otHce Statistics, ISO,". — Partial Enumeration of :Mercautile, Manufac- 
turing, and Other Concerns— Chronological Record, _ . . - -jji 

BTRLlOfiKAl'HV, -J.-^S 

lNl>EX, ----.--------... 1-41 



D. C. Cooper, 

John Cleves Symjies, 
General George Rogers Clark, 
General Anthony Wayne, 
CtOVERNor Arthur St. Clad;, 
General James Wilkinson, 
General Jonathan Dayton, 
Benjamin Van Cleve, 
Colonel George Nem'com, 
Mrs. Jane Xewco.ii Wilsox, 
Nathaniel Wilson, 
Colonel Robert Patter.son, 
Robert W. Steele, 
General Robert C. Schenck, - 


Orposite Pago 


- 20 

- 20 

■ 21 

. 52 


■ 61 

■ fl2 


The Landing op the Settlers, - . . . . 

Original Plan of Dayton, --.-___ 
Newcom's First Log Cabin, Built in iTfii;, . . . . 

Newcom's Tavern in 179!),- ----..._ 

Plan of Davton in 180.5, ---.-.. 

Plan or Dayton in 1809, - - 

The Old Academy, 18;S:3-ia57, ---.... 

First Presbyterian Church, ls:W-18fi7, - . - . . 

Main Street in 1846, -----.,- 

First and Ludlow Streets in 1846, ------ Side of Main Street, Between Second and Third, in 1855, 
Central High School, 18-57-1893, ----.. 

Flood of 1866, as. .Seen from the Head of Main Street, 
Newcom's Tavern in l.stu, -------- 





Opposite Pa^ 

The Landing-Place and NkwcojiS Taveex in Janttary, 1896, - 12.5 

County Buildings, ---------132 

Government Building and PosToriifK, - - - - - 133 

City Buildings, ---------140 

Public Library and Coopj;r Pakk, - - - - - - 141 

Steele High School, -------- 14S 

Central District School, - - - - - - - - 149 

Main Street, Looking North from Helow Fourth, - - - loii 

Third Street, Looking East from Main, - - - - - 157 

Fifth Street, Looking East froji Main, ----- IW 

Young Men's Christian Association Building, - - - - 172 

Woman's Christian Association Building, - - - - 173 

Protestant Deaconess Hospital, ------- 180 

St. Elizabeth Hospital, --------181 

First Presbyterian Church, ------- 188 

Third Street Presby'terian Church, ----- 188 

Grace Methodist Church, - - - - - - - - 192 

Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, ----- 193 

Synagogue, ----------- 196 

Entrance to "Woodland Cemetery, ------ 197 

The Soldiers' Monument, and .A.part:ment IIoi'sk on the Siti; of 

Newcom's Tavern, -------- 208 

National Military Home, -------- 209 



Fireplace AND Spinning -^\'■HEFT.. - - - - - - 2.s 

Blockhouse, ----- - - - ,50 

Hearth, .---. .---gg 


Map or Dayton in 18:W, - - - - - - . - 250 

Map of Dayton in 1.<9.'i - - - - - 1254 

Map of Ohio, --■------. 2o7 






Gist's Visit to the Miami Valley in 1751— Valuable Timber— Well Watered- 
Wild Animals— Natural Meadows — A Most Delightful Country- Fertil- 
ityand Beauty — Kentuckians Long to Dispossess the Indians — The Valley 
Called the Miami Slaughter-House- Dayton on the Site of the Indian 
Hunting-Ground — A Favorite Rendezvous for Indian Hunting and 
War Parties — General George Rogers Clark's Expedition to Ohio — Clark's 
Second Expedition — Skirmish on Site of Dayton — Logan's Campaign in 
1786— Second Skirmish on Site of Dayton — Venice on Site of Dayton — 
Venice Abandoned — General Wayne's Campaign — Treaty of Peace — Site 
of Dayton Purchased from Symmes — Original Proprietors of Dayton — 
Survey of the Purchase- D. C. Cooper Cuts a Road — Dayton Laid Out 
and Named — Streets Named — Lottery Held on Site of Town — Lots and 
Inlots Donated to Settlers Drawn — Settlers Permitted to Purchase One 
Hundred and Sixty Acres at a French Crown per Acre- Names of Original 
Settlers of Dayton— Three Parties Leave Cincinnati in aiaroh, 17S6 — 
Hamer's Party Travels in a Two-Horse Wagon — Newcom's Party Makes 
the Journey on Horseback — Thompson's Party Ascend the Miami in a 
Pirogue — Description of the Voyage — Poling Up Stream — Beauty of the 
Landscape — Supper in the Miami Woods — Names of the Passengers in 
the Pirogue — Ten Days from Cincinnati to Dayton — Mrs. Thompson the 
First to Land — Indians Encamped at Dayton — Land at Head of St. Clair 
Street — The LTninhabited Forest All that Welcomed Them — Encouraging 
Indications — Temporary Protection — Log Cabins— Wholly Dependent on 
Each Other's Society — Monument Avenue Cleared — Town Covered by 
Hazelnut Thickets — Dr. Elliott's Purple Silk Coat — Dayton Hard to Find 
by the Traveler — Ague — Communal Corn-Field — Mary Van Cleve — 
Indians Attack the Thompson Cabin. 

The report of the French. Major Celoron de Bienville, who, 
in August, 1749, ascended the La Roche or Big Miami River in 
bateaux to visit the Twightwee villages at Piqua, has been 
preserved ; but Gist, the agent of the Virginians who formed the 
Ohio Ivand Company, was probably the first person who wrote 
a description in English of the region surrounding Dayton. 
Gist visited the Twightwee or Miami villages in 1751. He was 

2 17 


delighted witli the fertile and well-watered land, with its large 
oak, walnut, maple, ash, wild cherry, and other trees. The 
country, he says, abounded "with turkeys, deer, elk, and most 
sorts of game, particularly buffaloes, thirty or forty of which 
are frequently seen feeding in one meadow ; in short, it wants 
nothing but cultivation to make it a most delightful country. 
The land upon the Great Miami is very rich, level, and well 
timbered — some of the finest meadows that can be. The grass 
here grows to a great height on the clear fields, of which there 
are a great number, and the bottoms are full of white clover, 
wild rye, and blue grass." A number of white traders were 
living at the Miami villages and in one of their houses Gist 
lodged. It is stated by pioneer writers that buffaloes and elk 
disappeared from Ohio about the j'ear 1795. 

Long before an}- permanent settlement was made in the 
Miami Valley, its beauty and fertilitj* were known bj' the people 
beyond the Alleglianies and the inhabitants of Kentuckj-, who 
considered it an "earthly paradise," and repeated efforts were 
made to get possession of it. These efforts led to retaliation on 
the part of the Indians, who resented the attempts to dispossess 
them of their lands, and the continuous raids back and forth 
across the Ohio River to gain or keep possession of the valle}^ 
caused it to be called, until the close of the eighteenth centurj', 
the " !Miami slaughter-house." The wild animals — wolves, 
wildcats, bears, panthers, foxes — which roamed through the 
valle}' now so peaceful and prosperous were scarceh' more brutal 
and fierce than the inhabitants of the infrequent villages scat- 
tered along the borders of the Miami hunting-grounds — the 
terrible " Indian countrj-," the abode of cruelty and death, which 
the imagination of trembling women in far-distant blockhouses 
invested with all the horrors of a veritable hell on earth. The 
pioneers of Kentuckj^ looked with jealous and envious eves on 
this great Indian game preser\-e. The wily and suspicious 
savages did their best to exclude them ; but, though the}' ventured 
over here at the risk of being burned, thej' frequenth' came alone 
or in small parties to hunt or rescue some friend captured in a 
raid into Kentiicky by the Indians. Before the Miami Valley 
had ever been visited by whites, the country lying between the 
Great and Little Miamis, and bounded on the south bj' the Ohio 
and on the north bj' Mad River, was used only as a hunting- 
ground. Dayton lies just within this former immense game pre- 


serve. Probably no wigwam has been built and no Indians have 
lived on the site of Dayton since 1700. The site of Dayton was 
a favorite rendezvous for Indian hunters or warriors. Parties 
came down the Miami in canoes, and, having formed a camp 
of supplies at the mouth of INIad River in charge of squaws, set 
out on their raids or hunts. 

In the summer of 17S0, General George Rogers Clark led an 
expedition of experienced Indian fighters to Ohio against the 
Shawnees near Xenia and Springfield. He defeated the Indians. 
By this victor}' the homes, crops, and other property of about 
four thousand Shawnees were destroyed, and for some time they 
were wholh' engaged in rebuilding their wig-wams, and in hunt- 
ing and fishing to obtain food for their families. Among the 
oiScers who held command under Clark was Colonel Robert 
Patterson, from 1804 till 1827 a citizen of Da3rton. 

Finding that the Indians were recovering from their defeat of 
17S0, Clark, in the fall of 1782, led a second expedition of one 
thousand Kentuckians to Ohio. Thej^ met with no resistance 
till they reached the mouth of Mad River, on the 9th of 
November, where they found a small party of Indians stationed 
to prevent their crossing the stream. A skirmish on the site of 
Dayton followed, in which the Kentuckians were victorious. 
They spent the night here, and then proceeded to Upper Piqua, 
on the Great Miami. Having destroyed Upper Piqua, they went 
on to the trading-station of Laramie, and plundered and burned 
the store and destroyed the Indians' wigwams and crops. These 
two expeditions, or campaigns, were campaigns of the Revolu- 
tion, as the Indians were friendly to the British. 

For some time after the peace with Great Britain in 1783, the 
Indians, who had met with many reverses and losses during the 
Revolution, did not trouble the settlements as much as formerly, 
but about 1785 they recommenced hostilities, and in 1786 a force 
commanded by Colonel Logan was sent against the Wabash and 
Mad River villages. One of the brigades was commanded by 
Colonel Robert Patterson. They harried and ruined the Indian 
countrj^ and destroyed eight towns and the crops and vegetables, 
taking a large number of horses, and leaving the Indians in a 
state of destitution and starvation from which it took them 
nearly a year to recover. The Kentuckians returned to the Ohio 
by the way of Mad River, and at the mouth of the river found a 
party of Indians on guard. With them was Tecumseh, at this 


time about fourteen j^ears of age. Having, after some slight 
resistance, beaten the Indians and driven them up Mad River 
and gained the second battle or skirmish between whites and 
Indians fought on the site of Dayton, thej' camped for the night. 
Being well supplied with provisions taken from the captured 
villages, they remained here for two or three daj-s examining 
land with a view to recommending a settlement in this neighbor- 
hood. Having driven the Indians for the time being out of the 
Miami Valley, the Kentuckians, when thej' departed, left an 
uninhabited countrj' behind them. 

In 17S9 Major Benjamin Stites, John Stites Gano, and 'William 
Goforth formed plans for a settlement to be named Venice, at the 
mouth of the Tiber, as thej' called jNIad River. The site of the 
proposed citj- laj- within the seventh range of townships, which 
thej' agreed to purchase from John Cleves Sj'mmes for eightj-- 
three cents an acre. The deed was executed and recorded, and 
the town of Venice, with its two principal streets crossing each 
other at right angles and the position of houses and squares 
indicated in the four quarters outlined by the streets, was laid 
out on paper. But Indian troubles and Sj'mmes's misunderstand- 
ing with the Government forced them to abandon the project, and 
"we escaped being Venetians." 

In the spring of 1793 General Wayne was made commander of 
the Western ami}-. His victories over the Indians on June 30 
and 31 and August 30, 1794, ended four j-ears of Indian war. 
August 3, 1795, a treat}- of peace was concluded at Greenville, 
which was regarded as securing the safetj- of settlers in the 
Indian country. 

August 20, 1795, seventeen daj-s after the treaty was signed, a 
party of gentlemen contracted for the purchase of the seventh 
and eighth ranges between I\Iad River and the Little IMiami from 
John Cleves Symmes, a soldier of the Revolutionary armv, who, 
encouraged by the success of the Ohio Company, had, after much 
negotiation, obtained from CoTigress a grant for the purchase of 
one million acres between the two ISIiamis. The purchasers 
of the seventh and eighth ranges were General Arthur St. 
Clair, Governor of the Northwest Territory ; General Jonathan 
Dayton, afterward Senator from New Jersey ; General James 
Wilkinson, of Wayne's army, and Colonel Israel Ludlow, from 
Long Hill, INIorris County, New Jersey. On the 21st of Sep- 
tember two parties of suryeyors set out, one led by Daniel C. 

Prom tho "National Cyol.irodia of AmcrK-aa EiogTaphj," 
by pcruii.^sion of James T. ^him i Co. 

From tbo " Xationid Cyclcpcilft of American Bio^raplij,' 
bj permiaalon of James T. Wblto & Co. 


From the "Cjolopedia of American Biograplij." 
Copyright, lees, 1.J D. Applcton i Co. 

From tho "Cyolopcdin of AmOTlcan Biogrftphy." 
Copyright, 1880, bj E Appleton & Co. 

From tliO ■'Nalioaai'-Ha of Anj.-ri,.-i-La niL^TapLy/' bv ptrmis.iua af 
James T. IVhite 4 Co/ 


Cooper to survey and mark a road and cut out some of the brush, 
and the other led by Captain John Dunlap, which was to run the 
boundaries of the purchase. On the ist of November the sur- 
veyors returned to Mad River, and Israel Ludlow laid out the 
town, which he named for General Da3'ton. Three streets were 
named St. Clair, Wilkinson, and Ludlow for the proprietors. 
Another was called, as a sort of compromise, Jefferson, as the 
proprietors were Federalists. Dayton was founded by Revolu- 
tionary officers, and bears their names. It is also linked to tire 
War of 1812 by a street called for Commodore Perry. For many 
years Perry Street was down on the maps of the town as Cherry 

On November i a lottery was held, and each one present drew 
lots for himself or others who intended to settle in the new 
town. Each of the settlers received a donation of an inlot and 
an outlet. In addition, each of them had the privilege of pur- 
chasing one hundred and sixt}^ acres at a French crown, or about 
one dollar and thirteen cents, per acre. The proprietors hoped 
by offering these inducements to attract settlers to the place. 

Forty -six men had agreed to remove from Cincinnati to Day- 
ton, but only nineteen came. The following men and about 
seventeen women and children were the original settlers of 
Dayton : William Hamer, Solomon Hamer, Thomas Hamer, 
George Newcom, William Newcom, Abraham Glassmire, Thomas 
Davis, John Davis, John Dorough, William Chenoweth, James 
Morris, Daniel Ferrell, Samuel Thompson, Benjamin Van Cleve, 
James McClure, John McClure, William Gahagan, Solomon 
Goss, William Van Cleve. 

In March, 1796, they left Cincinnati in three parties, led 
b> William Hamer, George Newcom, and Samuel Thompson. 
Hamer's party was the first to start; the other two companies 
left on Monda}', March 21, one by land the other by water. 
Hamer's party came in a two-horse wagon over the road 
begun, but only partially cut through the woods, by Cooper in 
the fall of 1795. The company consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Wil- 
liam Hamer and their children Solomon, Thomas, Nancy, Eliza- 
beth, Sarah, and Polljr, and Jonathan and Edward Mercer. They 
were delayed, and had a long, cold, and uncomfortable journey. 

In the other party that traveled by land were Mr. and Mrs. 
George Newcom and their brother William, James Morris, John 
Dorough and family, Daniel Ferrell and family, vSolomon Goss 


and familj', John Davis, Abraham Glassmire, and William Van 
Cleve, who drove Mr. Thompson's cow, which was with the 
cattle belonging to the Newcom division of the colonists. 

Thompson's party were steered and poled b3' Benjamin Van 
Cleve and William Gahagan in a large pirogue down the Ohio 
to the Miami and up that stream to the mouth of INIad River. A 
pirogue was a long, narrow boat of light draft and parti}' enclosed 
and roofed. It required much skill and muscular strength to 
pole a boat up stream for man}- miles. The men, each provided 
with a pole with a heav\' socket, were placed on either side 
of the boat. The}' "set their poles near the head of the boat 
and bringing the end of the pole to their shoulders, with their 
bodies bent, walked slowl}- down the running board to the stern, 
returning at a quick pace to the bow for a new set." 

The Miami in 1796 wound through an almost wholl}- uninhab- 
ited wilderness. Such a journej-, it seems to us, looking back 
from this safe and prosaic age when steam cars whirl us up from 
Cincinnati, must have been full of danger and of exciting adven- 
ture, and j-et not without its pleasures. Imagination invests 
this little band of adventurers, laborioush* making their wav 
with their boat-load of women and children up the Indian-named 
river and valley to a frontier home in the ancient ^Nliami hunting- 
grounds, with an atmosphere of romance. On the borders of 
their ancestral corn-fields and game preserves lurked jealous and 
revengeful savages, gazing with envious and homesick eves on 
the rich lands of which the pioneers had dispossessed them. The 
Indian reign of terror, in spite of the treaty of peace, reallv lasted 
till after 1799, but travelers on the river were probablj- in less 
danger of surprise in early spring than when the foliage was in 
full leaf and the Indians could consequently more easilv conceal 

However unpropitious the season may be, there are alwavs 
occasional sunshiny days in tlie early spring in Ohio. Though 
the woods in 1706 were wet from recent showers, the rain seems 
to have been o\er before the pirogue began its voyage, and no 
doubt part of the time the weatlier was mild and bright. The 
banks of the INIiami were thickly wooded, and vocal with the 
songs of countless varieties of birds. The flowers and the foliage 
of the trees were just beginning to unfold, and the ground was 
covered with grass fresh with the greenness of spring. For miles 
on either side of the jMiami extended a fertile and beautiful countrv. 


At the close of each, da}- the boat was tied to a tree on the 
shore, and the emigrants landed and camped for the night 
around the big fire by which they cooked their appetizing sup- 
per of game, and fish, and the eggs of wild fowls, for which the 
hunger of travelers was a piquant and sufficient sauce. Meat 
was fastened on a sharp stick, stuck in the ground before the fire, 
and frequentlj' turned. Dough for wheat bread was sometimes 
■wound round a stick and baked in the same way. Corn-bread 
was baked under the hot ashes. "Sweeter roast meat," exclaims 
an enthusiastic pioneer writer, "than such as is prepared in this 
manner, no epicure of Europe ever tasted." "Scarce any one 
who has not tried it can imagine the sweetness and gusto of such 
a meal, in such a place, at such a time." 

In the pirogue came Samuel Thompson and his wife, Catherine ; 
their children, Sarah, two years old, Martha, three months old, 
and Mrs. Thompson's son, Benjamin Van Cleve, then about 
twenty-five, and her daughter, Mary Van Cleve, nine 3'ears 
of age ; the widow INIcClure and her sons and daughters, James, 
John, Thomas, Kate, and Ann, and William Gahagan, a 5-oung 
Irishman. The passage from Cincinnati to Dayton occupied ten 
daj's. INIrs. Thompson was the first to step ashore. Two small 
camps of Indians were here when the pirogue touched the Tiliami 
bank, but they proved friendly and were persuaded to leave in a 
da5' or two. The pirogue landed at the head of St. Clair Street 
April I, 1796. The Thompson party was the first to arrive. 

Samuel Thompson was a native of Penns\-lvania, and removed 
to Cincinnati soon after its settlement. He married the widow 
of John Van Cleve. IMr. Thompson w-as drowned in Mad River 
in 1817, and Mrs. Thompson died at Dayton, August 6, 1837. 
William Gahagan was a native of Pennsylvania, but of Irish 
parentage. He was a soldier in Wayne'.s legion, and came west 
in 1793, serving with the arm}' till the peace of 1795. Benjamin 
Van Cleve and he were friends and comrades. He was one of the 
party which surveyed the site of Daj'ton. In 1804 or 1805 he 
removed to a tract of land south of Troy, called Gahagan's 
Prairie, which he owned. Here his wife died and he married 
Mrs. Tennery. He died about 1845 in Troy. The McClures soon 
removed to Miami County. Little is known of Solomon Goss, 
Thomas Davis, William Chenoweth, James Morris, and Daniel 
Ferrell. Abraham Glassmire was a German and unmarried. He 
was a very useful member of the little community, making looms 


and showing much ingenuitj' in contriving conveniences not eas- 
ily obtained by pioneer housekeepers. John Dorough was the 
owner of a mill on Mad River, afterwards known as Kneisley's 
Mill. William Newcom, 3-ounger brother of George, was born 
about 1776. He married Charlotte Nolan, and had one son, Robert. 
William Newcom died at Dayton from the effects of hardships and 
exposure during the War of 1812, in which he ser^-ed as a soldier. 
Biographiesof other pioneers will be given later on in our history. 
We can easily imagine the loneliness and dreariness of the 
uninhabited wilderness which confronted the homeless pioneer 
families as they arrived bj- water or land at Daj-ton. "The 
unbroken forest was all that welcomed the Thompson party, and 
the awful stillness of night had no refrain but the howling of the 
wolf and the wailing of the whippoor^vill." The spring was 
late and cold, but though at first the landscape looked bare and 
desolate, before many daj-s the air was sweet with the blossoms 
of the wild grape, plum, cherry, and crab-apple, and the woods 
beautiful with the contrasting red and white of the dogwood and 
redbud or of elder and wild rose, and the fresh green of voung 
leaves. The woods were full of wild fruits, flowers, and nut- 
bearing trees and bushes. 

As a temporary- protection against the weather the pioneers, on 
their arrival, built, with the lumber of which the pirogue was 
made, against a log or bank three-sided huts or shanties, roofed 
with skm or bark, and open towards the fire, which was made 
outside. Then they began at once to fell timber and build loo- 
cabins, containing one room and a loft. After or before the 
cabin was built, the trees for some distance around were girdled 
and left to die a slow death, as they interfered with the cultiva- 
tion of the soil, and also concealed lurking Indians. Then a few 
acres were grubbed for a corn and potato patch. 

Isolated from other settlements by miles of unbroken forests, 
the only road a trail marked by blazed trees or a narrow bridle 
path, with treacherous Indians and wild beasts prowling 
through the tangled undergrowth on either side, the inhabitants 
of frontier places like Dayton were dependent on each other 
for society and for assistance in sickness and work. Thev 
shared everything. The latchstriiig was alwa\-s out. Hildreth 
says of ^Marietta that the various households in the little 
community were like the neariy related branches of one family, 
and probably this was true of the log-cabin hamlet of Davton. " 


As soon as possible after the arrival of the pioneers, the whole 
of Monument Avenue was cleared of brush and trees. But with 
this exception, a few farms, and the wagon-road cut in the 
middle of Main Street and running south to Franklin, Fort 
Hamilton, and Cincinnati, the country on both sides of the 
Miami was for many miles unbroken forest or a thicket of hazel 
bushes and wild fruit-trees. Pioneers could, in the summer, 
step out of their back doors into a boundless wild park or 
garden. Delicious perfumes, sweet as attar of roses, — ^delicate, 
pungent, aromatic, — and countless flowers, pink, white, purple, 
scarlet, blue, and blending with every shade of yellow and 
green, delighted the senses. To be sure, mud, snakes, stinging 
insects, thorns, burrs, and poisonous vines detracted from the 
pleasure of their strolls. Innumerable garter-snakes were to be 
seen, and rattlesnakes were often found. 

A hazelnut thicket covered a good deal of the town plat, and 
is often mentioned in the reminiscences of first settlers. Dr. 
Drake, a noted Cincinnatian, writing of Dr. Elliott, an ex-army 
surgeon and ancestor of some of our prominent Daytonians, 
saj'S, "In the summer of 1804 I saw him in Dayton, a highly 
accomplished gentleman in a purple silk coat, which contrasted 
strangely with the surrounding thickets of brush and high 
bushes." Such elegant raiment, though common in cities, was 
not often seen in frontier villages. Benjamin Van Cleve, in his 
interesting manuscript autobiography, describes himself on June 
26, 1794, as dressed in a hunting-frock, breechcloth, and leggings, 
with a knife eighteen inches long hanging at his side, a gun in 
one hand, and a tomahawk in the other. And this costume, in a 
modified form, was usual. A coonskin cap was added in winter. 

John W. Van Cleve, who had seen his native place change 
from a wilderness to a thriving town, gives this description of 
Daj'ton in 1S00-1805: "While the inhabitants all lived on 
the river bank, it was no vmcommon thing for strangers, on 
coming into the place, after threading their way through the 
brush until thej' had passed through the whole town plat from 
one extremitjr to the other, and arrived at the first few of the 
cabins that constituted the settlement, to inquire how far it was 
to Davton. They were, of course, informed that they had just 
passed through it, and arrived in the .suburbs." A little later 
they would have found a log cabin occupied by John Welsh, a 
substantial farmer, at what is now the southeast corner of Main 


and Fifth streets, and inquiring of liim the distance to Dayton, 
would have been directed to Newcom's Tavern, about a quarter 
of a mile down the road. Persons still living, and not aged, 
remember, when driving the cows home from the prairies east 
of St. Clair and south of First Street, — where both pasturage and 
water from several ponds were abundant, — -lingering in the public 
square (now Cooper Park) to fill their pockets with hazelnuts. 
The ponds were filled so long ago that manj' never heard of 
them. This is also true of "the ravine that ran from the head 
of Mill Street down the present course of the canal to the river 
below the foot of Ludlow Street, and of another wide ravine that 
extended from the levee at the head of Jefferson Street across to 
Cooper Park, connecting with the ravine running south." A 
gull}- five or six feet deep, beginning at the comer of Wilkinson 
and First streets, crossing jNIain at Third Street, and ending at 
the corner of Fifth and Brown streets, was not whollv filled up 
till Mr. J. D. Piatt built his house on the northwest comer of 
First and Wilkinson streets. 

In 1798 the home missionar}-, Rev. John Kobler, visited Daj-- 
ton, which he describes as a little village of that name, on the 
bank of the Big INIiami, containing a few log houses and eight 
or ten families. When threatened with illness, he hastened 
southward, for "to lie sick at anj- of the houses in these parts 
would be choosing death, as it is next to impossible for a well 
man to get food or sustenance." Yet, as is usual in regions 
where verj- rich soil is newh' cultivated, the pioneers all had 
ague. Fortunatelj-, what was chill day to one-half the popula- 
tion was generall}' well day to the other half. One Sundaj- 
morning, when a little knot of worshipers were assembled, as a 
pioneer lady used to relate, a tall, bent, gaunt, sallow-faced man, 
who was enjoying his "well daj-," slowh- and feeblv crept up 
the aisle. A little child, after one glance at this walking skele- 
ton, exclaimed in terror, "O mother, is that death?" and buried 
his head in her lap. He had taken literally the saving that an 
invalid "looked like death." January i, ijqq, Tilr. Kobler 
preached at Dayton to a mixed company of traders from Detroit, 
and some Indians, French, and English, from the appropriate 
text, "In ever}' nation he that feareth him, and worketh right- 
eousness, is accepted with him." He spoke so forcibly that 
"many of them looked wild and stood aghast, as if the}- 
wonld take to their heels." 


When in the fall of 1795 pioneers, or their representatives, vis- 
ited the "mouth of Mad River" to select homes, they drew both 
town and outlots, and the latter farms some of them cultivated. 
Thej' also had, after a time, gardens round their cabins. "West 
of Wilkinson Street," as Curwen, the delightful first historian of 
Daj'ton, sa5's, "was a huge corn-field within one common enclo- 
sure, where, as in that golden age of the world when men lodged 
under trees and fed upon acorns, every man was at liberty to till 
as much of the soil as he chose." Further, small prairies 
between the large inclosure and the cabins served as a common 
vegetable garden. 

It is a disputed point whether Mary Van Cleve, the sister of 
Benjamin, or her mother was the first to leap from the boat 
which conve3-ed the party of travelers in search of a new home 
in a new countr}' — the Daj'ton of a hundred years ago. Trans- 
planted at the age of nine, she grew up with the village, and 
spent a long life here. She was well known by her two marriages 
as ISIrs. Swaj'nie and Mrs. McClean. Some of her early experi- 
ences were very thrilling. She had reason to regard Indians 
with horror. Her father, John Van Cleve, while cultivating his 
farm near Cincinnati, was killed in 1791 by a "naked Indian, 
who sprang upon him, plunged a knife into his heart, took a 
small scalp off, and ran." A party of friends of Mr. Van Cleve 
pursued him and his band, and Mr. Thompson, afterward Mary 
Van Cleve's stepfather, overtook one of the Indians and cut off 
his hand. As a consequence, Mr. Thompson incurred the 
revengeful spite of all the savages, but hoped after his removal 
to Daj'ton to be rid of them. There came a time, however, when 
this roving band also found their way to the frontier village. 
Late one dark summer evening, having filled themselves with 
fire-water, they surrounded the Thompson and Van Cleve 
cabin on Monument Avenue, midway between St. Clair and 
Jefferson streets, and with fierce yells demanded admission. The 
family were alone, and, realizing their great peril, they took 
Mary, a brave little girl of twelve, from her bed, hastily diessed 
her, lifted a part of the puncheon floor, and directed her to watch 
her opportunity to creep through the small aperture to the 
ground, above which the cabin was raised a little, and run to 
Newcom's Tavern for help. Every anecdote of this period is in 
some way connected with our only historical relic. Her descrip- 
tion of her terrified run through the pathless brush and hazel 



patches, tears streaming down her cheeks, the noise of the dread- 
ful warvvhoops of the Indians in her ears, her flesh and clothes 
torn with briars, her bare feet splashing- through the water, and 
slipping and stumbling over the mossy stones at the bottom of 
the gully which then ran from Second Street, by the park, back 
of the Monument Avenue cabins to Jefferson Street near the river 
bank, was very graphic. No wonder that in telling the story she 
often said, "Iran a mile before I reached Newcom's Tavern," 
Yet the distance was not quite two of our present squares. A 
number of men were at the tavern, wondering what the howling 
and shrieks they heard from the eastward could mean. They all 
returned with her, one of the men carrying her home in his arms. 
By their assistance the Indians were routed, and nothing serious 
resulted from the attack. 

jMary Van Cleve was married in 1804 to John !McClean, by 
whom she had seven children. Two daughters live in Daj-ton — 
Mrs. Sarah J. McC. Swaynie and Mrs. E. S. Dow. She married, 
second, in 1826 Robert Swaynie. They had no children. jMrs. 
Swaynie died several j-ears ago. 






!? V ^ 












1? 2 > ^ 





Daniel C. Cooper— Newcom's Ttivern — Cooper Park — Mr. Cooper Becomes 
Titular Proprietor of the Town — His Improvements and Liberality — 
Indians Frequent Visitors — Playing Marbles at Midnight — Robert Edgar 

— First Store in Dayton — Henry Brown — First Flatboat — Furniture of 
the Nine Cabins Constituting Dayton — Food — Game — Hogs Introduced 

— Fish — Blockhouses for Defense Against Indians Built at Dayton- First 
School in Dayton — Benjamin Van Cleve's Autobiography — Early Life of 
Van Cleve — Battle of Monmonth — Wagon Journey of the Van Cleves 
Across the Mountains — Murder of John Van Cleve at Cincinnati by 
Indians- Benjamin Van Cleve Supports his Father's Family — Self-Edu- 
cated—Employed in Quartermaster's Department of "Western Army — 
St. Clair's Defeat — Employed in Flatboating by Army Contractors — lu 
Charge of Army Horses and Cattle — Sent Express to Philadelphia by 
Quartermaster's Department — Sent bj^ General Knox from Philadelphia 
to Conduct Pair of Horses to Indian Chief Brant — Quarrel with General 
Knox — Meets Brant in New York — Studious Life After Return to Phila- 
delphia — Sent West with Dispatches to General Wayne — Journey by 
Boat from Wheeling, Accompanied by Otficers and Recruits — Cheated Out 
of His Pay — Flatboating to Kentucky — Sutler at Fort CTreenville — Sent 
by Army Contractor to Fort Massac with Two Boats Loaded with Pro- 
visions — Adventure at Fort Massac with Major, Called "King," Doyle 

— Returning, Visits Red Banks, a Resort of Thieves and Cutthroats — 
Drives Cattle to Greenville, Fort Wayne, and Fort Washington — Accom- 
panies Captain Dunlap to Make the Survey of the Dayton Settlement — 
Adventures as a Surveyor — Keeps Field-Notes During Rain on Blocks of 
Wood— Settles in Dayton — Surveying, Writing, and Farming — Trials. 

Now THAT the approach of the Dayton Centennial is exciting 
a special interest in the settlers and founders of the town, it 
should not be forgotten that Daniel C. Cooper is the pioneer who 
should be made most prominent and given the highest honors at 
our celebration. He was born in Morris County, New Jersey, in 
1773. About 1S03 he married Mrs. Sophia Greene Burnet, of 
Dayton. From the time that a settlement here was first planned 
by St. Clair, Wilkinson, Dayton, and Ludlow, he was acquainted 
with the project, and inclined, it is probable, to make the new 
town his home. He accompanied the surveying parties led by 
Colonel Israel Ludlow through the Miami Valley in 1794 and 



1795, ''lid iu September, 1795, bj^ direction of the proprietors, 
marked out and cut through the brush from Fort Hamilton to 
the mouth of Mad River the wagon-road by which the pioneers 
ended their journey. That fall and winter he located one 
thousand acres of land in and near Daj'ton. He settled here 
permanently in the summer of 1796, building a cabin on the 
southeast corner of Monument Avenue and Jefferson Street. In 
1798 he moved onto the farm, south of Dayton, afterwards the 
home of Colonel Patterson and General Brown, who distinguished 
himself in the War of 1S12, and was afterwards commander-in- 
chief of the United States Armj-. He kept bachelor's hall in his 
Monument Avenue cabin for a time. 

It would have been a disgrace not to have preserved Newcom's 
Tavern, which, when built in 1799, was the pride of all this 
region on account of its superiorit)' to any other house north 
of Hamilton. We know that round it cluster near!}- all the most 
interesting historical associations of the earliest period of the 
histor}' of Daj-ton, and that it was the first tavern, store, church, 
court-house, and jail of the town or countj'. There is great 
propriety in naming the little pioneer landing for the "\"an 
Cleves. But it is also eminently proper that the square in 
which the librar}' building stands should be called Cooper Park, 
for the generous, public-spirited man who gave it and other 
valuable lots to the town. Our citizens seem not to know, or 
to have forgotten, that several }-ears ago the City Council voted 
to name this square Cooper Park, so that it is improper, whether 
law, gratitude, or sentiment is concerned, to call it Librarv Park. 
Cooper Park let it be henceforth and forever. 

In 1801 the original proprietors of Dayton became discouraged 
and Mr. Cooper became titular proprietor of the town b}- the 
purchase of preemption rights, agreement with settlers, and 
friendlj' Congressional legislation. He showed his intelligence 
and breadth of view by the size of lots and the width of streets 
and sidewalks on his new plat of the town, and bj- his liberal 
donations of lots and nionej- for schools, churches, a gravevard 
market-liouse, and for county buildings, and to desirable settlers 
whom he induced to come here. He built the only mills erected 
in Dayton during the first ten years of its history — flour-, full- 
ing-, and sawmills, and one for grinding corn. For several vears 
at different periods he served as justice of the peace, president of 
Council, and member of both branches of the Legislature, and in 


every way in his power labored for the prosperity of the town, 
countj^, and State. His residence, built in 1805 on the southwest 
corner of Ludlow and First streets, was described as an " elegant 
mansion of hewn logs, lined inside, instead of plastering, with 
cherry boards." To his enlarged views, foresight, broad plans, 
liberality, integritj-, and business capacity much of the present 
advancement of our city is due. The impress of his wise, mod- 
erate, prudent, 3fet progressive spirit, laid upon the town in its 
infanc}', has never been lost. 

Indians were frequent visitors to the village of Dayton, and 
even when friendlj- their curiositj- and thieving habits made 
them unwelcome. They generalljf came to exchange skins, maple 
sugar, etc., for articles carried about the country by traders. 
Robert Edgar, one of the earliest settlers and a valuable citizen, 
man}' of whose descendants live in Dayton, bnilt himself a 
lonelj' home on the little prairie now the site of the Water 
Works. Sometimes at night Indians, with whom he must have 
been inconvenientlj' popular, would stop in front of his cabin 
and call, ' ' Lobit ! Dobit ! " ( Indian for Robert ) till he awoke and 
admitted them. They came for amusement, and were not satisfied 
till the}' had persuaded their host to get down on the floor and 
play marbles with them. When they had enjoyed the game 
to their hearts' content, they departed in great good humor, 
and their relieved and weary entertainer went back to bed. His 
associations with the Indians were not all of a laughable charac- 
ter. In 1792, at Wheeling, his father was, on Good Friday 
evening, attacked, killed, and scalped by nine Indians, while on 
the wajf to warn a neighbor of their approach. 

Robert Edgar first visited Da}rton in 1795 as one of thf survey- 
ing party led b}' Mr. Cooper, and settled here in 1796. Though 
a farmer, he was also a good mechanic, and built and ran mills 
for Mr. Cooper at Daj^ton, and for Mr. Robinson upon Mad River. 
He was a soldier in the War of 1812 in one of the companies of 
mounted rangers from this county, and his sword is now in 
possession of his son, John F. Edgar. Robert Edgar was born 
in Staunton, Virginia, in 1770, and emigrated to Ohio before 
1795. At Cincinnati, September 27, 1798, he married Mrs. Mar- 
garet Kirkwood. Mr. and INIrs. Edgar had a large family, but 
only five lived past childhood. Jane Allen, born November 24, 
1800, married Augustus George, December 4, 1817, and died in 
1824 ; descendants in Dayton, the children of the late George 


H. Phillips. Robert A., born October lo, 1S03, married Catherine 
Iddings ; died in 1833. Samuel D., born March 26, 1806, married 
Minerva A. Jones, August 5, 1845 ; died October i, 1874. He has 
a number of grandchildren, the children of two daughters and a 
son. Mary, born April 8, 1811, married, May 10, 1831, Stephen 
Johnston; died July 25, 1849. Jol^i^ F-> born October 29, 1814, 
alone survives. He married, April 20, 1843, EiSe A. Rogers. 
He has three daughters — Jeanne, Isabel, and Elizabeth Edgar. 

In the fall of 1800 the first store in Dayton was opened in a 
room of the second storj' of Newcom's Tavern bj' a Tilr. 
McDougal from Detroit. Though this store was a great con- 
venience to the villagers and the countrj' for forty miles around, 
McDougal's chief trade was with Indians, who came here for 
that purpose. 

In 1804 Henry Brown, prominent in the early history of our 
city, built on Main Street, near the High School, a frame build- 
ing for a store — the first house erected here speciallj' for business 
purposes. Since 1795 he had been engaged in the Indian trade, 
having stores at Fort Hamilton and Fort Laramie, and, as 
stated, in 1804 at Da3'ton, in partnership with Mr. Sunderland. 
Three generations of his descendants have been well known in 
our city. The agents of his firm were camped on all the streams 
for manj^ miles in every direction from Dayton, wherever Indians 
could be reached. Traders, accompanied by packhorses laden 
with goods, took long, lonely, dangerous journeys through the 
wilderness, lasting several months, to Indian villages. Some of 
their goods were shipped in flatboats or pirogues down the rivers 
to Cincinnati and New Orleans. 

Henry Brown was born near Lexington, Virginia, about 1770. 
In 1793 he came to the Northwest Territory as militarj' secretary' 
for Colonel Preston, who was in command of a regiment in 
Wayne's army. Februar3' 19, iSii, he married Katherine, 
daughter of Colonel Robert Patterson. INIr. Brown died in 182:;. 
Mr. and IMrs. Brown had three children : R. P. Brown, born 
December 6, iSii, married Sarah Galloway, October 31, 1S37; 
died May 4, 1S79. Henry L. Brown, born December 3, 1814, 
married Sarah Belle Browning, February 7, 1S37 : died November 
25, 1878. Eliza J. Brown, born in Dayton, October 30, 1816, 
married Charles Anderson, September 16, 1835. R. P. and Henr5' 
L. Brown were men of the finest character, influential in many 
directions, and held in the highest regard by their fellow-citizens. 


Tlie first flatboat tliat left Dayton was owned b3' David Lowry. 
It started on the two months' trip to New Orleans during the 
spring freshet of 1799, and was loaded with grain, pelts, and 500 
venison hams. 

The nine cabins which in 1799 constituted Dayton, contained 
onlj' a few home-made benches, stools, beds, tables, and cup- 
boards, often of bucke3-e and beechwood. Doddridge in his 
"Notes" says that a pioneer's table furniture consisted of 
"some old pewter dishes and plates; the rest, wooden bowls 
or trenchers, or gourds, and hard-shelled squashes. A few 
pewter spoons, much battered about the edges, were to be 
seen on some tables. The rest were made of horn. If knives 
were scarce, the deficiency was made up bj- the scalping-knives, 
which were carried in sheaths suspended from the belt of the 
hunting-shirt. ' ' The cabin was warmed and lighted wholly by 
the huge open hickorj' fire, over which, in pots suspended from 
cranes or on the coals or in the ashes, the cooking was done. At 
an early date the pioneers raised flax, hemp, and wool, and the 
women spun, wove, and dj'ed, with colors made from walnut 
and butternut hulls or wild roots, the fabrics from which they 
made the clothes of the familjr. Every cabin had its spinning- 
wheel and loom, the latter built by the ingenious pioneer weaver, 
Abrahain Glassmire. One wonders whether pioneer women 
were really harder worked than their granddaughters. Thej^ 
had little to occupy or amuse them outside their own homes — 
no benevolent societies, clubs, receptions, calls, concerts, or 
lectures, and only occasional church services. They had only 
one or two rooms to keep in order, and no pictures, books, cur- 
tains, carpets, rugs, table- and bed-linen, bric-a-brac, china, glass, 
or silver to take care of. Their wardrobes were scanty, and the 
weekly washing must have been small. Wheat flour could not 
be obtained ; corn hoe-cake, ash-cake, johnny-cake, dodgers, 
pone, hominj', and mush and milk were principal articles of 
diet. Meal was slowly and laboriouslj- ground in handmills. 
Wild plums, crab-apples, blackberries and strawberries, sweet- 
ened with maple sugar, furnished jellies and preserves. There 
was an abundance of wild honej', and of wild goose and turkey 
and duck eggs. They often tired of venison, bears' meat, rabbits, 
squirrels, wild turkeys, ducks, geese, quail, and pheasants, and 
longed for pork. There was great rejoicing, no doubt, when, in 
1799, Mr. Cooper introduced hogs. In iSoo sheep were first 



brought here. The rivers were full of bass, catfish, pickerel, 
pike, eels, and sunfish. 

Benjamin Van Cleve saj'S in his autobiography that, in July 
and August, 1799, "the Indians were counseling and evinced an 
unfriendly disposition. The British traders and French among 
them had made them dissatisfied with the cession of their lands 
and with the boundaries, and blockhouses were built at Dayton 
and all through the countrj^, and the people became considerably 
alarmed." The Dayton blockhouse stood on the present site of 
the soldiers' monument, and was built of round logs, with a 
projecting upper storj'. The men in town and surrounding 
countrj^ kept strict watch, and were all armed and readjr to take 
refuge, if necessarj-, with their families, in the blockhouse. But 
it was never used for protection against Indians. For a short 
time it was the village church and school-house. In the first 
story, the j^ear it was built, the Presbyterians held their Sunday 
services, and the same year Benjamin Van Cleve taught there 
the first school ever opened in Da^-ton — another reason whj- the 
park which the High School overlooks should be named for him. 
In his journal for 1799-1S00, he saj-s : " On the ist of September 
I commenced teaching a small school. I had reser^-ed time to 
gather my corn, and kept school until the last of October." He 
harvested a fine crop bj- the first week in Xovember. Vacation 
lasted part of December ; for, after harvest, he went to Cincinnati 
to assist the clerk of the House of Representatives of the first 
Territorial Legislature. He was well suited to such work. He 
held the office of clerk of the Montgomerv Court of Common 
Pleas from 1802 till his death in 1S21, and was postmaster from 
1S04 to 1S21, being the first to hold either ofiice in Davton. 

After INIr. Van Cleve's return from Cincinnati, he "kept school 
about three months longer." It is said that, as books were 
diflicult to procure, he taught the alphabet and spelling frotn 
charts prepared by himself They were, no doubt, beautifuUj- 
written and colored, for his penmanship was remarkable for 
elegance and legibility, and his diary or autobiography is illus- 
trated by phuis and maps neatly executed in India ink and water 
colors. He was a skilli^il surveyor and engineer, and like those 
of General W. C. Schcnck (fiither of Admiral and General R. C. 
Sclienck) and other contemporaries of his profession, the papers 
and accounts which descendant!? of people for whom he did 
business still preserve are not only conect in fonn and substance. 


but beautiful pieces of -work, and often ornamented by a large 
and artistic monogram of the employer. 

In 1801 Mr. Van Cleve was appointed county surveyor. In 
181 2 the President of the United States appointed him and two 
other commissioners "to explore, survej', and mark a road by 
the most eligible course from the foot of the rapids of the Miami 
of Lake Erie to the western line of the Connecticut Reserve, and 
a road to run southwardly from Lower Sandusky to the boundary 
line established by the treatj- of Greenville." 

Mr. Van Cleve's autobiographj- or "Memoranda," as he styled 
it, now in the possession of Mrs. Thomas Dover, widow of a 
grandson, is a verj' curious and valuable book. It has never been 
printed in full. This sturdy little manuscript volume, written in 
a hand as graceful and legible as the best type, and bound in 
strong, square leather covers, which, like the heav}' paper 
within, are dark with age, has, though studied by several his- 
torians, and read bj' many others, been so carefully guarded by 
the appreciative descendants of the writer that time and use 
have injured it verj- little. 

Mr. Van Cleve's life after 1796 is so much a part of the history 
of Da}-ton that it seems more appropriate and interesting to 
describe the incidents that occurred during that period under the 
proper dates in our story, than to give them in a continuous 
biography. His childhood and j-outh, while not spent in 
Daj'ton, were filled with hardship as well as romantic adven- 
ture of a kind that made him master of all his faculties, and 
this severe discipline developed the character that rendered him 
one of the most useful and progressive founders and citizens of 
the struggling village in the Mad River country. Therefore, a 
somewhat detailed account of his earh' }'ears will be both inter- 
esting and profitable. He is worth}' of being held up as an 
example to the boys in our public schools. Some of his traits 
are of the kind that appeal most strongly to bo}- nature. 

In his j\Ienioranda, which he states was written for the in- 
struction and amusement of his children, INIr. Van Cleve sets down 
for their guidance the rules b}' which he regulated his own valu- 
able life. He tells them that he made it a point to be polite and 
obliging to all with whom he was connected in business, whether 
he stood to them in the relation of eniploj-er or emploj^ee. And 
in his obituary it is stated that he "recommended himself to 
esteem by his agreeable manner of doing business." He regarded 


justice, honor, and integrity as the best policy, though it was 
not this inferior motive but a higher one that led him to pursue 
that upright and public-spirited career which won the respect 
and admiration of his fellow-citizens. He was a religious man 
and a member of the Presbj'terian Church. He took an active 
part in promoting the best interests of his town and State, and 
was a trustee of several literarj' institutions. In the Memoranda 
he dwells upon the fact that he alwaj'S had a place for everj'thing 
and a set time for the performance of each duty, and he exhorted 
his children above all to form similar sj-stematic, accurate, and 
methodical habits. 

Benjamin Van Cleve began to keep a diarj' at a verj' earl3' age, 
and not long before his death in 1821 he condensed and revised 
his journals, copying them into the volume from which the 
material for his biography is drawn. His Memoranda contains, 
perhaps, the most accurate and graphic description of St. Clair's 
defeat that has been written ; and from the Blemoranda has also 
been obtained the only reliable account of the settlement of 
Dayton. The Memoranda, supplemented bj- the files of earlj^ 
newspapers which he preser\'ed, consitutes him literally the his- 
torian of Da5rton from 1795 to 1821. 

Benjamin Van Cleve's ancestors came to Flatbush, Long 
Island, from Amsterdam, Holland, in the seventeenth century, 
and from thence removed to Staten Island, and finally settled in 
New Jersey. He was born Februarj' 24, 1773, in Monmouth 
County, New Jersej-, and was the eldest child of John and Cath- 
erine Benham Van Cleve. He had three brothers and five sisters. 
His father was a blacksmith. 

Mr. Van Cleve's earliest recollection was of the battle of :\Ion- 
mouth, on the aSth of June, 177S. Late in life he could well remem- 
ber the confusion of women and children, and their flight to the 
pine swamps just before the engagement, though he was onlv 
five years old at the time. When about a mile from home the 
refugees came in sight of the enemy, and paused to consult what 
course to pursue. The IMonmouth men went in search of the Amer- 
ican army, and Benjamin Van Cleve, "becoming separated from 
the rest of his family, aimed," he tells us in the JNIemoranda, "to 
return home." When within a short distance of the enemy, the 
bugles drove the child, who in the confusion had not been missed, 
back to the place where his relatives were collected. The relu^ees 
could hear the firing distinctly, and judge from the sound which 


side was advancing or receding. ' ' When our army was retreating, 
many of the men were melted to tears ; when it was advancing, 
there was every demonstration of joy and exultation." The 
next day John Van Cleve and his brothers "acted as guides to 
separate companies of Colonel Morgan's riflemen, and reconnoi- 
tered the British right flank, took a number of prisoners, and 
took and recaptured a great deal of property. ' ' 

When, on the retreat of the British, John Van Cleve brought 
his family back from the pine swamps, he found nothing to 
mark the site of his home but a naked and blackened chimnej', 
stumps of apple trees, and the bodies of animals killed by the 
British. He "had," his son says, "neither a shelter for his 
family, nor bread for them, nor clothing to cover them excepting 
what they had on. He saved a bed and a looking-glass, which 
we carted with us. A yearling heifer had escaped the enemy, 
and a sow, with a back broken by a sword, lived. M3' father's 
anvil remained, I believe, amidst the rubbish and ruins of the 
shop. Several wagons and an artillery carriage were burnt in 
the shop ; the pieces of artillery had been thrown into a pool of 
muddy water in the middle of the road, and were not found by 
the enemy." The Tories committed depredations both by land 
and by sea on the Monmouth County people, and for this 
reason the militia were till the end of the war almost constantly 
on dutj-. John Van Cleve was "from home on this service a 
great part of the time, and he was in some skirmishes with the 
Tories and British. He was also under General Forman at 
the battle of Gerniantown." 

In November, 17S5, John Van Cleve removed with his family 
and several relatives and friends from Freehold, New Jersey, to 
Pennsylvania. The party traveled with three wagons, two of 
which contained Van Cleve's blacksmith tools, provisions, and 
household furniture. The emigrants had an uncomfortable and 
fatiguing journey up and down the icy or snowy Alleghany 
Mountain roads, which, "being only opened sufficient for wag- 
ons to pass, and neither dug nor leveled, also winding in both 
ascent and descent," there was constant danger of upsetting. 
"To undertake the crossing," Benjamin Van Cleve wrote, "with 
loaded wagons required a considerable degree of resolution and 
fortitude." The horses were soon nearly exhausted from the 
hard pulling through the deep snow, which balled in their feet. 
Sometimes the wagons stuck in the mud or broke down. The 


women and children suffered very niucli from cold and exposure. 
Benjamin Van Cleve writes on November 17 : " Tarried to repair 
our wagons, and the women were emploj-ed in baking and cook- 
ing." November 18 : "Froze considerable last night. The roads 
are filled with ice. Came this da}- to Mr. ^IcShaj-'s on Sideling 
Hill. The house was so crowded with travelers that, notwith- 
standing the cold, we were obliged to encamp in the woods. The 
horses and men are very much fatigued, having spent near half 
the day getting up this hill, which is steep and stony, and the 
road winds back and forth to gain the summit. We had to put 
six horses to a wagon and bring one up at a time." Thej- 
reached their journey's end on the Sth of December. 

The greater part of the time between 17S6 and 17S9 the Van 
Cleves spent on a farm near Washington, Pennsjdvania. In 
December, 17S9, the family' emigrated to Cincinnati, making the 
journey by water, and arriving the daj- after General St. Clair 
changed the name of the town, which had previously been called 
Losantiville. Benjamin Van Cleve settled on land on the east 
bank of the Ticking River, belonging to Major Leech, who, 
wishing to open a farm for himself offered a hundred acres of 
unimproved ground for each ten-acre field cleared by a settler, 
with the use for three years of the improved land. 

Benjamin Van Cleve hoped, with the assistance of his father's 
labor, to secure at least one hundred acres, but the latter's death 
prevented the fulfillment of their expectations. A fortified 
station was built on Teech's land, and four families and four 
single men went out to the place to live. The Indians were ver\' 
troublesome and daring in 1791, skulking through the streets of 
Cincinnati and the gardens near Fort Washington at night. On 
the 2ist of INIay the)' fired on John Xan Cleve while he was at 
work in his field near the village and captured a man named 
Cutter, who was standing within a few yards of him. "The 
alarm was given bj' halloing from lot to lot, until it reached 
town." Benjamin Van Cleve came in from Leech's Station just 
as the news of the attack was received at Cincinnati, and saw the 
villagers running to the public grounds. He followed them, and 
there met with a man who had seen the Indians firing on his 
father. He asked if any would go to the rescue with him, "and 
pushed on without halting." After running a short distance the 
party met John Van Cleve. "While we were finding the trail of 
the Indians on their retreat," Benjamin writes, "perhaps fortj- 


persons had arrived, most of whom joined in the pursuit ; but by 
the time we gained the top of the river hills, we had only eight." 
They kept the Indians "on the full run till dark," but were obliged 
to return to Cincinnati at night without recapturing Cutter. A 
few days later, on the ist of June, John Van Cleve was again 
attacked b}- Indians while working in his own lot. "A naked 
Indian," Benjamin saj's, "sprang upon him; my father was 
seen to throw him, but at this time the Indian was plunging his 
knife into his heart. He took a small scalp off and ran. The men 
behind came up immediately, but mj- father was already dead," 

One of John Van Cleve's daughters was married, but he left 
four 3'ounger children, who were not old enough to support 
themselves. "I immediatelj' resolved," Benjamin Van Cleve 
saj's, " to suppl}' the place of father to them to the utmost of my 
ability, and I feel a consolation in having fulfilled my duty 
towards them as well as my mother. My father had not manj^ 
debts or engagements to fulfill. I paid some debts bj' my labor 
(all that he owed) as a daj'-laborer, and my brother-in-law 
assisted me in building a house he had undertook, and received 
the pay for my mother." "After the funeral of my father, I 
returned and planted my corn, but was obliged to divide my 
time and bestow the greater part at Cincinnati for the benefit of 
the family. I settled my father's books, fulfilled his engagements, 
and sold his blacksmith's tools to the quartermaster-general." 

For a number of years Benjamin Van Cleve was burdened with 
the support of his mother and the family, and had a hard strug- 
gle with poverty. He was young and ignorant of the world, and 
felt the need of counsel. Many depended on him, and there was 
no one to whom he could turn for help, or with whom he could 
share his responsibilities. " Happy he who has, at this period of 
life," he wrote years afterwards, at a date when his own carefully 
nurtured son had recently graduated with honor from Ohio Uni- 
versity, "a father or friend whose experience will afford him a 
chart ; whose kind advice will serve as a compass to direct him." 

Benjamin Van Cleve was all his life a lover of good books and 
good men, and though he enjoyed very limited educational 
advantages, he became noted for intelligence, information, and 
elevation of character. Vice seems to have had but slight charm 
for him ; but no doubt the thought of his helpless family would 
have restrained one of his affectionate nature and spurred him to 
exert himself to the uttermost had he been tempted to fall into 


idle and dissipated habits. He was obliged to seek work wher- 
ever he could find it, and could not afford to be nice in his choice 
of associates. "Had my fortitude and resolution," he says, 
"been weaker, they might have been overcome, for my com- 
panions for several years were of the most profane and dissipated, 
such as followers of the arnij' and mostl}' discharged soldiers. ' ' 

In the summer of 1791 he obtained employment in the quar- 
termaster's department, and on the 8th of August set off for 
Kentucky, where his uncle, Captain Benham, w-as commissioned 
by the Government to buy artillery horses for St. Clair's army. 
Van Cleve received the purchased horses at Lexington, branded 
them, and pastured them in the neighborhood of the town. In 
about two weeks a drove was collected and taken to Cincinnati. 
Captain Benham was ver}- ill on their return from Kentuckj-, and 
his nephew was obliged to do all his writing, keep his accounts, 
and attend to his other business. 

On the 3d of September Benham and Van Cleve left Fort 
Washington, Cincinnati, for the army, with three or four bri- 
gades of packhorses, loaded with armorer's and artificer's tools. 
The armorers were armed and marched with the brigades, but 
would have proved a weak escort had the Indians attacked 
them. Benham's part}^ overtook the troops at a place thirty or 
forty miles bej-ond Fort Hamilton, and marched with them to 
Fort Jefferson, which was not completed. At the end of five 
days Benham and Van Cleve returned with six brigades, leaving 
five at Hamilton and taking one on to Fort Washington. They 
were ordered back to transport provisions from Cincinnati to 
the army, which was reduced to short allowance, the failure of 
Colonel Duer, the contractor, having thrown all military arrange- 
ments into confusion. The packhorsemen returned as soon as 
possible with their loads, and overtook the army on the 31st of 
October twent^'-two miles beyond Fort Jefferson. They found 
poor St. Clair so ill with the gout as to be carried in a litter. 
The Kentucky militia had just deserted in a bod}-, and the 
evening of the day that Benham's party arrived in camp the first 
regiment was dispatched to bring the deserters back, and also to 
escort in provisions that were then on the wav. 

Benjamin Van Cleve had been entered on the pav-roll of the 
army as a packhorsenian, at fifteen dollars pay per month. He 
worked hard to earn his wages. Each brigade of packhorses 
drew its rations separately. As he kept the accounts and also 


communicated orders, he had a great deal of writing to do. In 
addition to his ordinary duties, he was often obliged to take care 
of his own and his uncle's horses. Sometimes it was necessary 
to carry part of the stores or provisions lashed on the back of the 
animal he was accustomed to ride, and foot it himself through 
the mud in the roughest manner. Captain Benham had a large 
marquee, or horseman's tent, which, as it was very roomy, he 
occasionally asked officers to share. "Having sometimes to be 
in the company of officers and sometimes in the mud," Van 
Cleve was induced on his expeditions to the army to take all 
his clothes with him, and they made a heavy and unwieldy pack. 

At daybreak on the 2d of November, while, in obedience to 
orders, packing his cumbersome luggage on his horse in prepara- 
tion for the return to Cincinnati, he heard firing and was soon 
witnessing his lirst battle. It was not long till his horse was 
shot down, and instead of lamenting the accident he was glad 
of it ; for he now felt at liberty to share in the engagement, 
expecting much pleasure from the turmoil and excitement of 
the battle, which, in his ignorance of the condition of the army 
and of the uncertainties of Indian warfare, he was confident 
would end victoriously for our troops. In a few moments 
he provided himself with a gun obtained from a man who 
was wounded in the arm, began iiring, and till the retreat was 
commenced was in the thick of the fight. He escaped unhurt, 
though he lost his horse and all his clothes ; but Captain Benham 
and Daniel Bonham, a young man brought up by Benham, and 
whom Van Cleve regarded as a brother, were both wounded. 

The ground was soon " literally covered with dead and dying 
men, and the commander gave orders to take the way," that is, 
to retreat. Van Cleve joined a party of eight or nine men whom 
he saw start on a run a little to the left of where he was. 
When they had gone about two miles, a boy, who had been 
thrown or fell off a horse, begged Van Cleve's assistance, and he 
ran, pulling the boy along, about two miles farther, until both 
had become nearly exhausted. Seeing two horses approaching, 
one of which carried three men and the other two. Van Cleve 
managed to throw the lad up behind the two men. Though 
afterwards thrown off, the boy escaped and got safely home. 
Van Cleve did not see Bonham on the retreat, but understood that 
his body was found in the winter on the battlefield and buried. 

Van Cleve was taken with cramp during the retreat and could 


hardly walk, "till lie got within a hundred yards of the rear, 
where the Indians were tomahawking the old and wounded 
men." Here he stopped to "tie his pocket-handkerchief around 
a man's wounded knee." The Indians were close in pursuit at 
this time and he almost de,spaired of escaping. He threw off his 
shoes and the coolness of the ground revived him. " I again," 
he says, "began a trot, and recollect that when a bend in the 
road offered, and I got before half a dozen persons, I thought it 
would occupy some time for the enemj- to massacre them before 
my turn would come. B3' the time I had got to Stillwater, about 
eleven miles, I had gained the center of the Hying troops, and, 
like them, came to a walk. I fell in with Lieutenant Shaumberg, 
who I think was the only officer of artiller}- that got away 
unhurt, with Corporal Mott and a woman A^-ho v,-as called 
'Redheaded Nance.' The latter two were cr3-ing. Mott was 
lamenting the loss of his wife, and Nance that of an infant child. 
Shaumberg was nearlj' exhausted, and hung on Mott's arm. I 
carried his fusee and accouterments and led Nance ; and in this 
sociable way we arrived at Fort Jefferson a little after sunset." 

Benham and Van Cleve immediately went on with Colonel 
Drake and others, who were ordered forward to dispatch pro- 
visions to the troops. After marching a few miles the party was 
so overcome with fatigue that they halted. A packhorseman 
"had stolen at Fort Jefferson one pocketful of flour and the other 
full of beef." Another of the men had a kettle. Benjamin Van 
Cleve groped about in the dark until he found some water in a 
hole, out of which a tree had been blown by the root. Thev then 
made a kettle of soup, of which each of the party got a little. 
After supping they marched four or live miles farther, when a 
sentinel was set and they la}- down and slept. Thev were worn 
out with fatigue, and their feet were knocked to pieces against 
the roots in the night and by splashing through the ice without 
shoes, for "the ground was covered with snow and the flats filled 
with water frozen over, the ice as thick as a knife-blade." On the 
6th of November they reached Hamilton and were out of danger. 

On the 25th of November Benham and his nephew were paid 
off and discharged at Fort Washington. A week later Van Cleve 
entered the service of the new army contractors. Elliott & Wil- 
liams, and started the same day for the Falls of the Ohio to bring 
up a boat-load of salt. When he returned he was emplo\'ed bj- 
the contractors to feed and take charge of a herd of cattle 


through the winter. In the spring, when the cattle were turned 
out to pasture nea.r Cincinnati, he went on a twelve daj's' trip bj* 
boat to Fort Hamilton. Afterwards for a short time he was in 
charge of horses belonging to the quartermaster at a camp three 
miles up the Licking River. 

The evening of the loth of Maj-, 1792, he was expected at 
Cincinnati to draw provisions. He arrived about dark and found 
that the quartermaster had determined to send him express to 
Philadelphia, and had been to his mother's, had his clothes 
packed, a horse saddled, and everything ready for the journey. 
He received his instructions from the quartermaster and com- 
mandant, and started before midnight accompanied by Captain 
Kimberland. Fort}' dollars were given him, which were expected 
to be " equal to his expenses ' ' and he was ordered to take the 
most direct route to Philadelphia, which at that daj- was via 
Lexington, Kentuckj-, and Crab Orchard, Cumberland IMountains, 
Powell's Valle}', Abingdon, Bolecourt, Lexington, Staunton, JMar- 
tinsburg, Louisa, Hagerstown, Maryland, York and Lancaster, 
Pennsj'lvania. He traveled with as little delay as possible by daj^ 
or by night. On reaching Crab Orchard eighteen persons joined 
him. The party was armed with five guns and five pistols. The 
trip, on account of the Indian alarms and rain}' weather, was 
very disagreeable. 

Van Cleve reached Philadelphia June 7, 1792, and delivered his 
dispatches next day. He went to the War Department everj' 
morning at ten o'clock to see if there were an}- commands for 
him, and at last General Knox ordered him to go to New York 
to conduct thither a pair of fine horses which the heads of the 
department had presented to Captain Joseph Brant, chief of 
the Six Nations. Van Cleve was directed to leave the horses 
in the care of Mr. Edward Bardin, of the Cit}- Tavern, taking 
his receipt and requesting him to deliver them to Captain Brant 
on the latter's arrival in New York. INIr. Van Cleve replied that 
he would be glad to go to New York, but that, if he went, money 
to pav his expenses must be furnished him b}' the Government. 
General Knox was much excited bj' this answer, swore at the 
young man, and declared that it took more for his expenses than 
would support the Duke of Mecklenburg ! Whereupon Van Cleve 
waxed wroth. "I suppose," he says, "he was in jest, but I felt 
nettled, and observed that I ate three times a day, as I was 
accustomed to do at home, and my horse had to have haj' and 


oats ; that I had been on expense for fortj' or fifty da3's and on 
forty dollars ; and that I was a small matter behind with my 
landlord." Knox made no further objections, but ordered the 
necessary mone^- to be paid to Van Cleve. 

Captain Brant arrived bj- stage at the City Tavern on June 29, 
just as his horses stopped at the door, so that he gave his own 
receipt for the animals. It is stated in the ^lemoranda that the 
chief was "quite intelligent and communicative, wrote a decent 
hand, and was dressed more than half in the fashion of the whites." 

Mr. Van Cleve returned to Philadelphia on the 30th of June. 
Knox gave him leave of absence until the nth of July to visit 
relatives in New Jersej'. During his sta}- in Philadelphia he 
amused himself visiting friends, attending the pla}', drawing 
a plan of President Washington's new house, which was then 
building, and reading all the books he could get hold of. He 
purchased twenty-five volumes. He boarded with a Quaker 
family, and found profit and pleasure in attending the Friends' 
meeting and in reading Barclaj-'s "Apology" and others of their 
books. "The landlord and landlady-," he sa\-s, "assumed the 
exercise of parental authoritj- over me, the same as over their own 
son. I believe I was more obedient to them, and a considerable 
share of mutual attachment took place. I felt regret at partino- 
from them, and my good mother shed tears on the occasion." 

He left Philadelphia on the 25th of July with dispatches for 
General Wayne, who was at Wheeling, and for Colonel Cushing, 
the commandant at Fort Washington. On his return journey he 
followed the route over the AUeghanies he had traveled w-hen 
emigrating from New Jersey in 17S9, and found the roads much 
improved. On the way he turned aside to visit relatives, and was 
slightl}' reprimanded by General Wa\ne for his dela^- in deliver- 
ing the dispatches. The journey from Wheeling to Cincinnati 
was made by river. The party occupied two boats, commanded 
by Ensign Hunter, a sergeant, and corporal, who were conduct- 
ing to Ohio twenty-one recruits enlisted in New Jersev. One 
boat was loaded with oats and corn, and the other had on board a 
Cjuantity of cannon-ball, two pieces of artillerv, and a few boxes 
of shoes. Four recruits deserted at Wheeling, and ^■an Cleve 
turned out with a part>- of soldiers to search for them, but the 
men escaped capture. A good deal of whisky was dnink on 
board the boats, and the soldiers were "mellow" during nearlv 
the whole voyage. One of the men entertained his companions 


by singing for half a day at a time. Ensign Hunter and his 
wife frequently visited Van Cleve's boat, and when alone with 
the soldiers he amused himself reading the twenty-five books he 
had bought at Philadelphia, finishing nearly all of them before 
he reached Cincinnati on the 3d of August, 1792. One day he 
and the sergeant and another person landed for a deer hunt, over- 
taking the boats further down the river. 

Van Cleve's expenses during his absence of one hundred and 
fourteen days were ^114.56^^. He served a month in the quarter- 
master's department after his return. Through sorae misunder- 
standing, he did not receive his pay for his services as express 
till the 15th of March, 1793. "I became tired and disgusted," 
he saj's, " with their arrogant and ungenerous treatment, and in 
want of the money I begged that they would pay me something 
— anything that thej' thought I merited. There was no mail 
nor way for me to make it known or get redress at Philadelphia, 
and they were so good as to pay me five shillings per da3'." Yet 
the quartermaster professed to be satisfied with the manner in 
which he had discharged his duties, and with the bills of expense. 
"Paid Israel Ludlow for my lots in Cincinnati," he says, after 
concluding his account of the trip to Philadelphia, "got bills of 
sale for them, and cleared and fenced them. I labored intolerably 
hard, so as to injure my health, and raised a fine crop of corn." 

In the winter of 1793 Van Cleve and Stace}- McDonough 
engaged with the arm}' contractors, Elliott & Williams, to 
bring up salt and other articles from the Falls of the Ohio to 
Cincinnati. The contractors furnished a boat and one hundred- 
weight of flour for each trip, and paid six shillings sixpence 
freight per barrel. Van Cleve and his companions took the 
boat down themselves, but engaged hands at five dollars per week 
in Kentucky (where the farmers, when their summer work was 
over, were glad to get employment in the public service), who 
agreed to be ready, on certain days when the cargo for the return 
voyage was collected, to assist in loading the boat. They brought 
up one boat-load of salt and two of corn. By the ist of December 
Van Cleve cleared seventy-five dollars. They then reengaged 
with the contractors at fifteen dollars per month and went for a 
boat-load of salt, but did not receive their freight till January i, 
1794. The river was almost frozen over and they had a tedious 
return trip, not reaching Cincinnati till January 25. 

In February, 1794, Captain Benham employed Benjamin Van 


Cleve to open a sutler's store at Fort Greenville, the headquarters 
at this date of Wayne's legion. He took six packhorses to 
Greenville, loaded with stores and liquors, and in March returned 
to Cincinnati for another six-horse load. This was an unfortunate 
undertaking. He was twice robbed while at the fort, losing over 
fifty dollars in monej', all his clothes, and some small articles. 
He also got into trouble at headquarters through a misunder- 
standing, sold the sutler's store, and left Fort Greenville penniless. 

On the i6th of INIaj- he again engaged in the contractors' 
employ, and on the 24tli was sent down the Ohio to Fort ^lassac 
with two boats loaded with provisions. A detachment of infantr}' 
and artillerjr commanded b^- ^Major Doyle and Captain Guion, and 
eight Chickasaw Indians, accompanied them. There were ten 
boats in the little fleet, which were directed to proceed in exact 
order. Van Cleve's boat, number seven, was heavily loaded and 
weak in hands, so that when all were rowing it could not keep 
up, and when all were drifting it outwent the other boats. As 
the Major had the reputation of being haught}-, arbitrarv, and 
imperious, and had been nicknamed "King Dojde," \*an Cleve 
thought it useless to explain matters to him. Sometimes num-' 
ber seven would be ten miles ahead in the morning, and it would 
take the others with hard rowing half the day to overtake it. 
"The men," the ]\Iemoranda relates, "by that time would be 
prettj' much fatigued, and we could manage to keep our place 
until night. We generally received a hearty volley of execrations 
for our disobedience of his orders. AVe returned mild excuses 
and determined to repeat the offense." 

At Saline, on June ii, "I obser\-ed," A"an Cleve says, "a fire 
on shore, and hailed, when two Canadian French hunters came 
to ns with their canoes loaded with skins, bears' oil, and doo-s. 
One of them had passed twenty-six years in the wilderness 
between \'incennes and the Illinois River. Before morning we 
found three others, who went along with us to hunt for us." 
The boats reached Fort INIassac June 12. On the 26th of June 
" King Do_\-le" unjustly ordered the arrest of A'an Cleve and his 
comrades. That day there arrived at Fort INIassac a number of 
men who had lieen enlisted in Tennessee by officers who had 
received commissions from Citizen Genet, ambassador from the 
French Republic to the United States. The real object of the 
visit of these French recruits was probably to examine the place, 
and ascertain the strength of the force assembled there ; but the3' 


stated that, having nothing else to do, they had volunteered to 
escort some salt-boats to Nashville, and had stopped out of 
curiosity to see the soldiers. They invited Van Cleve and his 
companions to take passage in their boat, and as the former was 
anxious to return home the offer was accepted. Neither Van 
Cleve nor his associates were interested in Genet's projects. 
One of Van Cleve's party who had a public rifle went up to 
restore it to the Major, who, angrj' at his departure, cursed and 
struck him, and ordered him and his friends, who were in the 
boat but heard the command, to be taken to the guard-house. 
"The Major," Van Cleve states, "was walking backward and 
forward on top of the bank. With ray gun in one hand and 
tomahawk in the other, and a knife eighteen inches long hang- 
ing at my side, dressed in a hunting-frock, breechcloth, and 
leggings, mj' countenance probably manifesting my excitement, 
I leaped out of the boat, and with a very quick step went up to 
the jSIajor. I looked like a savage, and the Major, mistaking my 
intention, was alarmed and retired as I advanced." Finally, 
matters were explained to the satisfaction of both, and Van Cleve 
consented to remain till the 3d of July, when the Major intended 
to send a boat to the Falls of the Ohio. Van Cleve and his 
friends left on the appointed daj^, but growing tired of the 
society of the soldiers, determined on the 9th, at Red Banks, to 
make the remainder of the journey by land. 

Red Banks was on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky, and, 
as it was unknown as yet to which the place belonged, it was a 
lawless region and a refuge for thieves and rogues of all kinds 
who had "been able to effect their escape from justice in the 
neio'hboring States." At Red Banks our travelers saw a fellow 
named Kuykendall, who "always carried in his waistcoat pockets 
'devil's claws,' or rather weapons that he could slip his fingers 
in, and with which he could take off the whole side of a man's 
face at one claw." Kuykendall had been married and a 
wedding ball was in progress when Van Cleve arrived, at the 
close of which festivities the bridegroom was murdered bj' some 
of the guests. 

On July II the travelers reached Green River. They each 
made a raft with an armful of wood and a grapevine to carry 
their gun and clothes ' ' and then taking the vines in their mouth 
swam the river, dragging their rafts after them." During the 
four succeeding daj^s they pa.ssed through an uninhabited wilder- 


ness. July 26 they arrived at Cincinnati. Spies emploj-ed by 
Wayne's army had just come in for ammunition and were going 
to return on foot. The}' invited Van Cleve to join them, and he 
regretted that his feet and clothes were both almost worn out, 
and as he was unable to stand the journej' he was obliged to 
decline the offer. 

On the 28th of July he was emploj^ed by the contractors to drive 
a drove of cattle to Fort Greenville. Nearly the whole of August 
he was very ill at Cincinnati. On his recoverj-, after paj-ing 
doctor's and board bills and for some clothes, he had but a dollar 
left. Accordingl}-, though so weak that he could hardly walk, 
he engaged with the contractors to drive cattle to the armj' then 
at Fort \Va}-ne, and was occupied with this business till Decem- 
ber. In Januar}-, 1795, he entered into partnership at Cincinnati 
with his brother-in-law, Jerome Holt, and Captain John Schooley. 
They farmed and also hauled quartermaster's supplies to Fort 
Washington and the ovitposts in their six-horse wagon. Van 
Cleve "worked hard, lived poor, and was ven,- economical, and 
had about as much when he quit as when he began." 

In the fall of 1795 he accompanied Captain Dunlap to make 
the survey of the land purchased for the Da%'ton settlement. 
Survej-ors endured much hardship. A hunter and a spv alwa3's 
accompanied sur^-ej-ing parties, for they were obliged to supply 
themselves with food from the woods, and to be on the watch 
against attacks from wandering bands of Indians. On the 26th 
of September Van Cleve records that their horse was missing, 
though he had been well secured when they camped for the 
night. Indians had probably stolen him. The}- hunted for him 
all da}', but did not find him ; and were thenceforth obliged to 
carry the baggage themselves, though traveling on foot. When 
the}' arrived at the mouth of JMad River, the site of Dayton, the}- 
found six Wyandot Indians camped there. At first both the 
white and the red men were a little alarmed ; but they talked 
together, and dicussed mutual grievances. Van Cleve's father 
had been killed by Indians, and the Wyandots had suftered 
in like manner from the white man. They admitted that both 
sides had reason for complaint, and that both were to blame, and 
they soon became friends and exchanged presents. " They gave 
us," Van Cleve says, "some venison jerk, and we in return 
gave them a little flour, salt, tobacco, and other small articles. 
At the request of one of them, I exchanged knives, giving- him 

From a water-color portroit in posseaaion of Mra. Thomas DoYer. 

be:m.ta]\iix van cleve. 

Copyright, 1895, bj W. J. Shuey. 


a very large one, scabbard, and belt tliat I carried for several 
3'ears, for his, which was not so valuable, with a worsted belt 
and a deerskin to boot." 

The ist of October their hunter and another man were sent 
forward to hunt and cook, and when, after a day of fasting and 
hard work, the surveyors reached camp they found that some 
Indians had robbed their men of most of the provisions, and 
"menaced their lives." On another occasion the surveyors 
fasted thirty-four hours, laboring and traveling most of the 
time, and the Memoranda describes the gusto with which they 
ate the big pot of mush and milk which was all they had for 
supper when at last they reached a cabin. "October 3," Van 
Cleve writes, "it rained very hard, and the surveyor got his 
papers all wet and was about stopping. We had about a pound 
of meat, and, though we had nearly done our business, were 
thinking of setting off for home. I undertook to keep the field- 
notes, and hit on the expedient of taking them down on tablets 
of wood with the point of my knife, so I could understand them 
and take them off again on paper." They returned to Cincinnati 
on the 4th of October. 

On the ist of November Van Cleve went again to Mad River. 
A lottery was held, and he drew lots in and near Dayton for him- 
self and others, and "engaged to become a settler in the spring." 
This winter, when not surveying, Benjamin Van Cleve wrote in 
the recorder's office at Cincinnati. In March, 1796, as already 
related, he accompanied his mother and several others to Dayton. 
In his diary he made this simple and characteristic record of their 
arrival at their new home: "April i, 1796. Landed at Dayton, 
after a passage of ten days, William Gahagan and myself 
having come with Thompson's and McClure's families in a large 

Van Cleve raised a very good crop of corn at Dayton this 
year, but most of it was de.stroyed. He sold his possessions in 
Cincinnati, but ".sunk the price of his lots." He gave eighty 
dollars for a yoke of oxen and one of them was shot, and twenty 
dollars for a cow and it died ; so that at the close of 1796 he was 
about forty dollars in debt. The next year his farming was also 
unsuccessful, and he lost $16.17 and gained nothing. In the fall 
of 1796 he accompanied Israel Ludlow and W. C. Schenck to 
survey the United States military lands between the Scioto and 
Muskingum rivers. "We had deep snow," he says, "covered 



with crust. The weather was cold and still, so that we could kill 
but little game, and we were twenty-nine days without bread, and 
nearly all that time without salt, and sometimes very little to eat. 
We were five days — seven in company — on four meals, and the3-, 
except the last, scanty. The3' consisted of a turkej', two 5'oung 
raccoons, and the last day some rabbits and venison, which we got 
from some Indians." In Februarj-, 1798, he began the studj' of 
surveying in Cincinnati, boarding at Captain Benham's. He 
was promised a district in the United States lands bj' Israel 
Ludlow, who had the power of filling blank commissions from 
the Surveyor-General, but who, as on the former occasion, never 
fulfilled his promise. After completing his studies, he " assisted 
Averjr in his tavern during the sitting of court, and for some 
time afterwards posted books for several persons, and wrote for 
a short time in the quartermaster's department at Fort Wash- 
ington." He had been waiting in Cincinnati all summer, hoping 
to be employed as a survej-or, and was now again put off. He 
therefore returned to Daj'ton. On his arrival, having nothing 
else to do, he dug a sawmill pit for D. C. Cooper, proprietor of 
the town. From working in so damp and chilly a place he caught 
a violent cold, and had rheumatism and fever, succeeded by 
pleurisj'. He had been forced to sell his preemption rights and 
outlots in Dayton, but in 1799 rented some ground and raised an 
excellent crop of corn. 



Two Houses on Main Street in 1799 — Small Size of Cabins — Description by 
"W". C. Howells of a Home of the Period — Newcom's Tavern, First House 
in Dayton, Chinked with Mortar — Corner Monument Avenue and Main 
Street the Business Center of Dayton — First White Child Born in Dayton — 
Biog:raphy of Colonel Newcom — Wearisome Journey Through the Woods 
to Dayton — Camping at Night — Newcom 's Tavern Described — Relics— Old 
Clock and Brass Candlestick — First County Court Held at Tavern — Money 
Scarce — Convicted Persons Fined a Deerskin or a Bushel of Corn — Sen- 
tenced to Thirty-Nine Lashes on Bare Back — Sheriff Newcom 's Primitive 
Prison a Corn-Ci'ib and a Dry Well — Anecdotes of Visits of Troublesome 
Indians to the Tavern — Colonel Newcom Introduces Apples — First Wed- 
ding in Dayton — Benjamin Van Cleve's Characteristic Account of the 
Event— Mr. Van Cleve's Hospitality to Strangers — Usefulness to the New 
Town — W. C. Howells's Description of Social Life in Pioneer Times — Fire- 
Hunting on the Miami — Women Helped Their Husbands in the Fields — 
Dependent on the Husband's and Father's Gun for Meals — Pelts and 
Bears' Oil Articles of Merchandise — Skins Used for Clothes, Moccasins, 
Rugs, and Coverlets — Business Conducted by Barter- Ginseng, Peltries, 
Beeswax, etc.. Used as Money — Cut-Money or Sharp Shins — Charges Made 
in Pounds, Shillings, and Pence — Wild Animals — First Mill, a Com- 
Craeker, Built by D. C. Cooper — Log Meeting-House Built— Dayton First 
Governed Wholly by County Commissioners and Township Assessors — 
D. C. Cooper Justice of the Peace — Early Marriages — Petition Presented 
to Congress by Settlers — The-Town Nearly Dies Out — D. C. Cooper, Titular 
Proprietor, Resuscitates It — Town Plats — Basis of Titles — Ohio a State — 
Montgomery Separated from Hamilton County — Population Increases 
— First Election — First County Court— Mr. Cooper Builds Saw- and Grist- 
Mills — Levees — New Graveyard — Log-Cabin Meeting-House Sold — New 
First Presbyterian Church- Mr. Cooper's Death — First Jail. 

The only buildings in 1799 on Main Street within view of the 
blockhouse on the site of the Soldiers' Monument were New- 
corn's log tavern, two stories in height, and containing four 
rooms, built in the winter of 1798-1799, and George Westfall's 
cabin of one room and a loft, on the southeast corner of the 
alley between First Street and Monument Avenue. One won- 
ders how a family of five or six could live in a diminutive house 
like the latter. W. C. Howells, father of the novelist, in his 
*' Recollections of Ohio," published in the spring of 1895, de- 


scribes such a cabin, into which two families, one of them his 
father's, — cultivated, refined people, — were crowded for four days 
and nights, and which was the home of the Howells family, num- 
bering nine, for several months. This log cabin was eighteen b}^ 
twenty feet in size, and with a loft overhead, in the highest part 
of which you could make a bed on the floor. The cabin con- 
tained fourteen persons during the crowded period mentioned — 
eight grown people and six children. Mr. Howells says : "As 
I write this in a house where there would be a room for each, I 
do not myself see how it was managed. But that was fifty years 
ago, and people put up with worse things. The fact is, there 
was no alternative, and when it is that or nothing we can do 
manj' odd things." In those days people rolled up in a bear- 
skin or blanket and slept on the puncheon floor or out-of-doors 
in summer on the grass. 

It is difficult for people with modem ideas of space and privac5' 
to comprehend how a small house like Kewcom's Tavern could 
have afforded accommodations for travelers, for a store, church, 
court-house, and jail. But ilr. Howells throws some light on 
this question also. Describing a journej' in a wagon, he sa3-s : 
' ' We stopped at night at a tavern, as was the custom, only hiring 
the use of one room on the first floor, known as the movers' 
room, and the privilege of the fire to make tea or coflfee, or fry 
bacon. It was very much like camping out, save that we were 
housed at soldiers' quarters." The movers' room of a tavern was 
also, no doubt, often used for meetings of the court or of the 
church. Mr. Howells sa^-s that cabins sometimes contained a 
four-light window, with greased paper for glass, but it was very 
common for log cabins to have no windows whatever. In ex- 
tremely cold weather the door would be closed, and likewise at 
night, but mosth', bj- keeping a good fire, the door could be left 
open for light and ventilation ; and the chimneys were so wide 
and so low, verj' often not as high as the one-story house, that 
they afforded as much light as a small window. These chimne}'S 
were always outside the house at one end. The manner of build- 
ing them was to cut through the logs at the gable-end a space of 
six or eight feet wide and five or six feet high, and logs were 
built to this opening like a ba^'-window ; this recess was then 
lined with a rough stone wall up as high as this opening ; from 
that point a smoke-stack was built of small sticks split out of 
straight wood, and laid cob-house fashion to the height desired, 

From a ddgucrreotypfl in pnaBC^sion uf Mra. Joaiah Gebliiirt. 


Il..,p,' * 


and then plastered inside and out with clay, held together by- 

In 1799 lime was made in Dayton for the first time, from stones 
gathered from the bed of the river and piled on a huge log fire, 
which took the place of a kiln. Newcom's Tavern was the first 
house chinked and plastered with lime mortar instead of clay. 
' ' A wondering country boy, on his return from the village, 
reported to his astonished family that Colonel Newcom was 
plastering his house with flour." 

The southwest corner of Monument Aveuue and Main Street 
was the business center of Dayton Township for five or six 
years. If a crowd was possible in such a hamlet, it assembled 
there when court was in session, as in 1803, or when there was 
a meeting to organize for defense against the Indians, or to 
attend to religious or political affairs. AH travelers on horse- 
back, on foot, or in wagons, prospectors hunting for land, emi- 
grants, farmers and their wives in town for the day, stopped at 
Newcom's Tavern to eat or sleep, shop, attend to law business, 
get a drink of water from the only well in the township or a 
glass of something stronger, or to rest and gossip around the 
roaring log fire, where the villagers loved to gather. April 14, 
1800, Jane Newcom, the first child born in Dayton, was born at 
her father's tavern. She married Nathaniel Wilson. Mrs. Josiah 
Gebhart, daughter of Mrs. Wilson and granddaughter of Colonel 
Newcom, has portraits of both these pioneers in her possession. 

The interest that is felt in the preservation of Newcom's Tavern 
renders the career of the builder of that historic house, a man 
who " enjoyed the respect of the whole community," of import- 
ance. Colonel George Newcom was born in Ireland and brought 
to this country by his parents in 1775. The Newcoms settled 
first in Delaware, removing afterwards to the neighborhood of 
Middletown, Penns3dvania. George Newcom married I\Iary Hen- 
derson, of Washington County, Pennsylvania. They had three 
children, one of whom died before they came to Dayton. The 
second child, John W., had several children, all of whom died 
young, except Martha A., who married John E. Greer, of Day- 
ton. The third child, Jane, as alreadj' stated, married Nathaniel 
Wilson, and four of her nine children lived to be well known in 
Dayton — Clinton, Mrs. Mary J. Hunt, Mrs. Elizabeth Bowen, 
and Mrs. Josiah Gebhart. 

In March, 1796, George Newcom and his wife left Cincinnati 


( where they had arrived about 1794) for the site of Dayton. Three 
other families and five unmarried men were of the party. It took 
them two weeks to make the trip of sixty miles over the almost 
uiiljroken roads, and very wearisome and uncomfortable was the 
journey. The weather was damp and cold, rainy, and spitting- 
snow. Camping at night in the wet woods was a trj'ing experi- 
ence, though hatchet and ax furnished fuel for a blazing fire, 
kindled by rubbing together pieces of punk or rotten wood, and 
their rifles supplied them with food from the surrounding forest. 
Beds were made by spreading blankets over brush. In the early 
morning mothers and children arose, shivering and unrefreshed ; 
breakfast was prepared, horses fed and packed by men cold, tired, 
and discouraged, and another daj^'s journej' begun. 

The road from Cincinnati to Hamilton had been used so much 
by United States troops that it was tolerabU' good, but the 
rough, narrow road from Hamilton to Daj-ton was often almost 
impassable for heavily laden horses. Even the women seem 
to have walked most of the way. The men drove the cattle 
and led the packhorses. In creels, suspended from either 
side of the pack-saddles, were carried bedding, clothing, cook- 
ing utensils, tableware, provisions, tools, implements, and 
children too small to walk, their heads onh- appearing above. 
When the partj- came to small streams, they felled trees and 
made foot-bridges. It was necessar}- to build rafts to carry men, 
women, children, and freight across large creeks, and horses and 
cattle swam over. Driving the cattle, which would strav from 
the road and occasion delay till the}' were found, was troublesome 
and provoking business. Finally, the party reached the mouth 
of Mad River, and found friends awaiting them, the other two 
companies of settlers having arrived a few davs sooner. 

Colonel Newcom built a cabin of one room and a loft on the 
southwest corner of INIain Street and Monument Avenue as soon 
as he arrived, which in the winter of 1798-1799 gave place to the 
tavern of two stories and four rooms. This latter house is 
usually described as tavern, store, court-house, and jail, though 
the jail, in two separate "apartments," was really in the back 
yard, where was also a log barn. When large parties stopped at 
Newcom's Tavern, probably they occupied a movers' room and 
looked after themselves. But when one or two travelers alighted 
with their saddle-bags, they wei-e no doubt made literal guests 
and taken into the family as if they were friends or relations. It 


was a typical frontier tavern, the host and hostess, as was the 
universal custom in private houses, assisting in doing the work 
of the tavern, and often even the stable, with their own hands. 
On the kitchen mantel of the tavern stood tall brass candlesticks, 
one of which is now in the possession of ]Mrs. Josiah Gebhart. 
In a corner ticked the large, old-fashioned clock, six feet or more 
in height. It is now in the possession of INIr. Charles W. Geb- 
hart, wound regularly with the key that Colonel Newcom used, 
and keeping as excellent time as it did a hundred 3'ears ago. In 
the kitchen also stood a dresser laden with pewter dishes, which 
shone like silver. 

The first count}' court was opened in an upper room in New- 
corn's Tavern July 27, 1S03, bj* Hon. Francis Dunlevy, presiding 
judge of the first judicial district. Benjamin Van Cleve was 
clerk pro tem.; Daniel S3'mmes, of Cincinnati, prosecutor pro 
tern.; George Newcom, sheriff; and James Miller, coroner. The 
law fixing the county-seat at Dayton, which went into force in 
Maj', 1S03, also directed that the court should assemble "at the 
house of George Newcom, in the town of Dayton." As there 
was no business to transact, court adjourned on the evening of 
the day it assembled. Nearly- all the men in Montgomerj- County 
flocked to Newcom's on July 27. The opening of court was the 
occasion of universal excitement and amusement in that stag- 
nant, back-countrj' region. The judges and lawj-ers slept the 
night of the 27th in one room at the tavern, and left earl}- the 
next morning on horseback to open court at Xenia. The second 
session of court — November 22, 1803 — was held under the trees 
back of Newcom's Tavern, aad the aid of the sheriff was required 
to disperse the curious crowd which was listening, not onlj^ to 
the testimou}' of witnesses, but to the presumably secret discus- 
sions of the jur}-. Seven cases were tried, and court adjourned 
next day. 

As money was scarce, persons convicted b}- the court were fined 
a certain number of deer or other skins, or an amount of corn or 
pork. Small offenses were often punished b}- from one to thirty- 
nine lashes on the bare back, well laid on, the sentence being 
executed b}- Sheriff Newcom as soon as pronounced. There was 
no regular jail, and Colonel Newcom confined white prisoners in 
a dr}' well on his lot. " The pit was drj' and there was no water 
in it," as Curwen, the witt}' first historian of Dayton says, "and 
following the example of Old Testament jailers, he let down 


those who broke the peace of the State, and there they remained 
till brought up for trial." When drunken and troublesome 
Indians were placed in his keeping, he bound them and confined 
them in his corn-crib. 

Visits of Indians were a great nuisance to pioneers, whether 
they were friendly or the reverse. They were in the habit of 
calling white people by their Christian names, and would stand 
outside the Newcom house, carefully closed against them, shout- 
ing "Polly, Poll}'," and if Mrs. Newcom persisted in refusing to 
admit them, would fill their hands with corn from the crib and 
throw it through the chinks between the logs of the cabin, 
which were not always well filled with plaster. One daj- Colonel 
Newcom came home and found his wife at the wash-tub and an 
Indian bespattered with blood bending over her with a toma- 
hawk. The Colonel demanded what this meant, and the Indian 
replied that "Polly" was washing his shirt. He had compelled 
Mrs. Newcom to get a tub of water and wash the shirt, which 
was soaked with blood, whether of man or wild beast Mrs. New- 
com did not learn. Colonel Newcom sprung upon the Indian, 
gave him a severe beating, bound him with strong rope, and 
threw him into the corn-crib. In a short time the Indian was 
discovered running towards Mad River, and was never seen nor 
heard of again. How he managed to untie the rope and escape 
is an unsolved mj-sterj-. 

Once, when ]Mrs. Newcom was ill, a crowd of excited Indians 
burst into the room where she la}' and ordered Colonel Newcom 
to get them a rope, as they wished to bind one ot their number 
who had oflinded them. Mrs. Newcom was afraid to be left 
alone with the Indians, and sat up and begged her husband not 
to get the rope. Thereupon one of the Indians pushed her back 
with great violence on the bed. Terrified at the threatening 
manner of the angr}' ruffians, she caught up her bab}-, Jane, and 
fled into the hazel bushes as far from the house as she was able 
to go, not returning till Colonel Newcom had got rid of the 

Colonel Newcom introduced apples into Da^-ton. Previously 
the settlers had no fruit but the wild growth of the woods and 
prairies. He brought a number of apples from Cincinnati, 
called the citizens together, and gave different varieties of the fruit 
to whoever desired to plant the seed. He planted seed on his 
farm, now the home of l\Ir. P. E. Gilbert, ou Huffman Avenue, 


setting out the tinj' trees in an orchard when the}- were onl}- a 
few inches high. This orchard was cut down a 3'ear ago. 

Colonel Newconi was the first sheriflf of Montgomerj' Count}', 
and held other offices. He was a member of the Ohio Legislature 
for twenty-three consecutive years — first as a senator and after- 
wards as a member of the lower house. \Vhen the Legislature 
spent time uselessly on business of little importance, he would 
berate his fellow members for wasting the people's monev by 
long sessions when all important affairs could have been crowded 
into a short period. He ser^-ed as a soldier in Wayne's campaign 
against the Indians in 1794, and also in the War of 1S12. April 
3, 1S34, his first wife died. He married Elizabeth Bowen, June 
22, 1836. She died October 29, 1S50, Colonel Newcom lived to 
be eighty-two, and died February 25, 1853. 

August 28, iSoo, is noted as the date of the first wedding in 
Dayton, On that day Benjamin Van Cleve was married to Mary 
Whitten at her father's house on his farm a short distance from 
town. Mr. Van Cleve makes this characteristic record of the 
event in his diary : ' ' This year I raised a crop of corn and 
determined on settling myself, and having a home ; I accordingly, 
on the 2Sth of August, married Mary Whitten, daughter of John 
W^hitten, near Dayton. She was young, lively, and ingenuous. 
Mv property was a horse creature, and a few farrriing utensils, 
and her father gave her a few household or kitchen utensils, so 
that we could make shift to cook our provisions ; a bed, a cow 
and heifer, an ewe and two lambs, a sow and pigs, and a saddle 
and spinning-wheel. I had com and vegetables growing, so that 
if we were not rich we had sufiicient for our immediate wants, 
and we were contented and happy." Mr. Van Cleve's marriage 
was a benefit to the community, for it enabled him to exercise 
that open-handed hospitality to strangers which was a trait of 
the public-spirited pioneers. The writer of an obituary notice 
of him published in the Da^-ton Watclimaii, in 1821, says : "He 
has been a leading character in this county, and has taken an 
active part in promoting its interests. By using system in his 
business, he found leisure from his duties as clerk of the court, 
postmaster, and his private affairs, to do much for the public 
good ; and the strangers that passed through town found in 
Mr. Van Cleve one who was able and took pleasure in giving 
them information." 

Ohio was a new and unknown country at the beginning of the 


nineteenth centur>', and travelers and land prospectors were un- 
able to obtain from books or newspapers the facts they desired in 
regard to soil, climate, population, and business. It was, there- 
fore, greatly to the advantage of a recently settled town and 
county to have within their borders one like Mr. Van Cleve, 
who was not only a good talker, but a perfect mine of informa- 
tion (he had, while surveying, traveled over nearly every foot of 
ground in this neighborhood J, and also willing to take the time 
and trouble to instruct inquiring visitors, who, if properly 
approached, might be induced to become permanent settlers. He 
understood farming, and cultivated his quarter-section, one hun- 
dred and sixty acres, now within the corporation, in the eastern 
part of town, and a valuable inheritance for his descendants. 

Benjamin and Mary W. Van Cleve had five children : John 
Whitten, born June 27, 1801, died, unmarried, September 6, 1858, 
as remarkable a man and as useful a citizen as his father. William 
James, born 1S03, died iSoS. Henrietta IMaria, bom November 
16, 1S05, married Samuel B. Dover, September 21, 1824, surviv- 
ing him ; she married Joseph Bond November 4, 1858, and died 
Maj' 18, 1879. Her descendants now living are two daughters, 
Mrs. Sophia Simpson, of Dayton, and Mrs. Marj- A. Dill, of Union 
City, Indiana; William Simpson, of Daj'ton, Dr. IMoses Simp- 
son, Freehold, New Jersey, — children of Mrs. Sophia Simpson,— 
and the sons and daughters of Thomas Dover, deceased, — Fay 
and Samuel, of Dayton; John, living in California; Mrs. Anna 
McKnight, of Dayton. Her third daughter, Phebe, married 
Emery Belden, and her daughter lives in Dayton. The fourth 
daughter is dead, but has a son and daughter living in the city. 
The fourth child of Benjamin Van Cleve was Mary Cornelia, born 
December 2, 1S07 ; married James Andrews, November 20, 1S27, 
and died F~ebruar3' 19, 1878; children, jMiss America Andrews 
and Mrs. Laura Poling, of Da> ton, and I. W. Andrews, of 
Kansas Cit}'; grandchildren, i\Irs. Edith Allison, Davton ; 
Dr. J. Andrews, Mansfield ; JMrs. Alice Voke, Lewisburg ; Harrv 
C. Andrews, Grace and Clifford Andrews, Davton ; Earl and 
Charley Andrews, Cambridge City. The voungest child of 
Benjamin Van Cleve, Sarah Sophia, was born November. 1S09; 
married David C. Baker, February 11, 1830, and died October 
iS, 1839. Her children live in Indiana or Kansas. ;\Ir. \'an 
Cleve's first wife died in i8io. In 1812 he married JNIary Tamp- 
liu. They had no children. She died in 1825. 


W. C. Howells (who, by the way, lived in Dayton and edited 
the Transcript in 1850) says of pioneer times: "Particularly 
remarkable was the general equality and the general dependence 
of all upon the neighboring kindness and good offices of others. 
The houses and barns were built of logs, and were raised by the 
collection of many neighbors together on one da}', whose united 
strength was necessary to the handling of the logs. This kind 
of mutual help by the neighbors was extended to many kinds of 
work, such as rolling up and burning the logs in a clearing, 
grubbing out the underbrush, splitting rails, cutting logs for 
a house, and the like. When a gathering of men for such a pur- 
pose took place, there was commonly some sort of mutual job 
laid out for women, such as quilting (patchwork was the art 
embroidery of that era), sewing, or spinning up a lot of thread 
for some poor neighbor. ' ' Corn-huskings and maple-sugar camps 
were also jolly resorts in their seasons. An abundant supper, 
which the women who were guests helped prepare, was served on 
such festive occasions, and dancing and kissing games finished 
the evening. Singing- and grammar- or spelling-schools were 
also pioneer amusements of men and women of all ages. A favor- 
ite sport of the settlers was fire-hunting, which Curwen thus 
describes: "The deer came down to the river to drink in the 
evening, and sheltered themselves for the night under the bushes 
which grew along the shore. As soon as they were quiet, the 
hunters in pirogues paddled slowly up the stream, the steersman 
holding aloft a burning torch of dried hickory bark, by the light 
of which the deer was discovered and fired on. If the shot was 
successful, the party landed, skinned the animal, hung the car- 
cass to a tree, to be brought home in the morning, and then 
proceeded to hunt more game." Fire-hunting must have been a 
beautiful spectacle to the women and children watching it from 
the Monument Avenue bank of the Miami. 

Women helped their husbands and brothers in all possible 
-ways in those days, even when used to town life in the East. If 
extra work out-of-doors was needed, the wife or daughter would 
be called on to aid, and sometimes they would assist in planting 
and hoeing the corn and raking the grain or hay in harvest. All 
■was country in Dayton ninety-five years ago, in spite of four or 
five cabins on the town plat. W. D. Howells, speaking of his 
father's sympathetic account of pioneer life, says "He did not 
deceive himself concerning the past. He knew that it was often 


rude and liard and coarse ; but under the rough and sordid aspect 
he was aware of the warm heart of humanity in which, quite as 
much as in the brain, all civility lies." In 1804-1810, when 
one-roomed log cabins began to give way to neat dwellings of 
several rooms, and new settlers built brick buildings for country 
stores, their educated and well-bred wives used to aid them by 
molding candles and making ginger cakes, rolls, root-beer, and 
other articles for sale. 

In the earlier years of our historj- settlers' families were often 
dependent upon the father's gun for a breakfast or dinner, and 
hunting was oftener an occupation than an amusement. Deer 
and bears were killed in large numbers for both their pelts and 
flesh, and the bears also for their oil. Deerskin was made into 
men's clothes and moccasins, and bearskins were used as rugs 
and coverlets. The meat, and also that of wild birds, was 
salted and eaten as we eat dried beef. Racoon skins were in 
demand for winter caps. Pelts of various kinds were used 
instead of monej-. 

There was little mone}' in circulation, and business in the 
Northwest Territory was chiefl}- conducted b_i.- barter of articles 
that were easil5' transported on packhorses, such as ginseng, 
peltries, and beeswax, which had fixed values. A niuskrat skin 
passed for twenty-five cents ; a buckskin for one dollar ; a doe- 
skin for one dollar and fiftj' cents ; a bearskin for from three to five 
dollars ; a pair of cotton stockings cost a buckskin ; a yard of 
calico cost two miiskrat skins ; a set of knives and forks, a bear- 
skin ; a 3'ard of shirting, a doeskin ; a pair of moccasins, a coon- 
skin, or thirty-seven and a half cents. The want of small change 
led the pioneers of the Ohio "\'alley to invent what was called cut- 
monej', or .sharp shins. They cut small coins, chiefly Spanish, 
into quarters, and circulated them as readilv as monev that had 
not been tampered with. American merchants had not vet 
learned to use the United States currenc}-, and their charges were 
ill pounds, shillings, and pence. In 1799 Hyson tea was sixteen 
shillings tenpence per pound ; loaf sugar, four .shillings ; flour, 
eighteen shillings tenpence per one hundred pounds ; pork, 
eighteen shillings ninepeiice ; beef, twenty -two shillings six- 
pence ; work, groceries, and dry goods were often paid for m corn 
or pork. 

The habits and surroundings of the people were verv primi- 
tive. Wildcats and panthers strong enough to carrj- oft" a live 

i photograph io po^aesaion of Mrs. Jo^iah Gehhart. 


From a photoirrapb in pi.>s?t-3iiion of Mrs. Josiah Gi-hhart. 


hog prowled in the surrounding woods, and wolves, which 
destroyed stock, poultry, and young vegetables, were shot by 
moonlight through the chinks of the cabins. The wolves howled 
from dusk till dawn like inniimerable dogs, as any one who has 
visited prairie countries can understand. 

An event in the lives of the people of this region was the build- 
ing, by Daniel C. Cooper, the greatest benefactor of early Dayton, 
on Rubicon Creek, which ran through his farm, now the site of 
the Cash Register Works, of a tub-mill or "corn-cracker," run by 
water, which began to be used in the winter of 1799-1800. No 
flour could be obtained, and previous to this date meal was ground 
in hand-mills, three or four hours of tiresome work being neces- 
sar3' to grind enough to last one small family a single day. This 
tub-mill was a rough affair, and the sides were not inclosed, but 
settlers brought their corn to it from nearly the whole of the Miami 
Valley, and from up Mad River as far as Springfield. Curwen, 
our first historian, says that Mr. Cooper "obtained all the custom 
of town, and took toll from the Trojans and Pequods." 

In the spring of 1800 the people of Dayton and the surrounding 
country got out logs and built the first Presbj-terian meeting- 
house on the corner of Main and Third streets, where Callahan's 
block now stands, D. C. Cooper having given two lots for a 
church and graveyard. Before this the Presbyterians had held 
services in Newcom's Tavern or the blockhouse. The log-cabin 
meeting-house was eighteen by twenty feet in size, seven logs 
high, and raised two feet from the ground by pieces of log placed 
upright under each corner. The seats and doorsteps were logs, 
and it had a puncheon floor and a clapboard roof, secured by 
weight poles. It had no windows, but sufficient air and light 
entered by the door and between the logs, the chinks being 
unfilled. Hazel bushes and small trees entirelj' hid it from view 
of passers up or down Main Street. It was approached by a 
narrow path, which wound through the uncleared graveyard. 

Daj'ton was originally in Hamilton County, which included 
the counties now known as Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Cham- 
paign, Logan, and Shelby, and other territory, and was governed 
by county commissioners and township assessors. Dayton had 
no other government till 1799, when Daniel C. Cooper was ap- 
pointed justice of the peace. He served three 3'ears and seven 
months and tried one hundred and eighteen cases. Eighteen of 
them were certified as settled and the rest as "satisfied." 


The Territorial law permitted the marriage "of male persons 
of the age of eighteen and female persons of the age of fourteen, 
and not nearer of kin than first cousins." But it was necessary 
that notice should be given, either in writing posted at some con- 
spicuous place within the township where the woman resided, or 
publicly declared on two days of public worship. Sometimes a 
notice written on a piece of paper, and signed " D. C. Cooper, 
Justice of the Peace," was tacked to the trunk of a large forest 
tree close to a road. Early marriages were so much the custom 
that respectable parents saw with approbation 3'oung daughters 
who at the present daj- would still be in the school-room married 
to men who were mere boj^s in age. A girl of fifteen was as 
much a 5'oung ladj' in iSoo as a girl of twent_v at the present day. 

The county expenses for 1797 were as follows: Assessor, 
James Brad}-, $5.20, paid bj- the treasurer out of the first money 
that came into his hands; Cyrus Osborn, constable of Dayton, 
$1.90, "for his trouble and attention in executing the commis- 
sioners' warrant for ascertaining taxable property-." He also 
received " fifty cents for one quire of paper used in the aforesaid 
business." The commissioners each received $7.50, and $14.34 
was expended by the countj' for stationery. The officers of 
Da^-ton Township in 179S were James Thompson, constable; 
Daniel C. Cooper, assessor ; George Newcom, collector. Mr. 
Cooper's fees were $7.20. Twent5'-two taxpayers lived in 
Da^'ton in 1798, and the taxes amounted to S29.74. In iSoi 
Benjamin Van Cleve was appointed to make a list of free male 
inhabitants twenty-one 5'ears old and over. The danger of 
attacks from Indians, as well as the need of men to clear lands, 
rendered it as necessarj- to ascertain how man}- men in the 
township were able to bear arms or wield an ax as to learn 
the names of taxpayers and the value of their propertv. IMr. 
Van Cleve sa^-s, "The number of free males over twenty-one 
years old, between the two jNIiamis, from the south line of the 
township to the head of Mad River and the Great I\Iiami, was 
three hundred and eighty-two ; east of the Little ]\Iiami, less 
than twenty." 

The high hopes with which the little bands of settlers had 
made their way through the woods and by river to Dayton 
seemed at first doomed to disappointment, as the following 
f (notation from a petition of the settlers to Congress, probably 
written by Benjamin Van Cleve about 1S02 or 1S03, shows: 


"On the 5tli of November, 1795, forty-six persons engaged to 
become settlers at Dayton, but from the many difficulties in 
forming a new settlement so far in the wilderness country, only 
iifteen of these came forward, and four others, making nineteen 
in all. These settlements were formed by your petitioners a few 
months after the treaty of Greenville, when we had no faith in 
the friendship of the savages. Our settlement was immediately 
on their hunting-grounds. We were not able to keep a horse 
amongst us during the first season by reason of their stealing. 
The scarcity of provisions had raised flour to nine dollars a 
barrel, and other articles in proportion, which we had to trans- 
port fifty miles through a wilderness, clearing roads, etc. Under 
all these and many more difiiculties we labored, in hopes of 
obtaining our lands at a low rate, and the small gratuity offered. 
Several of your petitioners have not been able to procure any 
land ; others laid their claims before the commissioners agreeably 
to the late law, and purchased at two dollars per acre. We beg 
leave to state to j^our honorable body that the proprietors have 
been at vast expense, labor, and difficulty in forming the said 
settlement, and have received no recompense nor privilege other 
than subsequent settlers ; that thej' first opened a way in conse- 
quence of which the country has become populous, and the 
United States has received a handsome revenue from the sale of 
the lands ; that the town of Dayton is purchased by a subsequent 
settler. We pray that Congress will make us such gratuity in 
lands, or deduction for paj^ments for lands, or grant such other 
relief as our case merits." 

Sj'mmes and St. Clair and his associates had paid two-thirds 
of a dollar per acre for land, and sold at a small advance. But 
the Government raised the price, and Benjamin Van Clevesays in 
his diary: "Mr. Ludlow, who was one of the proprietors aiid 
agent for them, informed me that thej^ relinquished their claim 
on account of the rising price ; that they could not afford to pay 
two dollars." 

It was at this time that Daniel C. Cooper became titular pro- 
prietor of the town bj' purchase of preemption rights and agree- 
ments with the settlers. Each of the original settlers received a 
donation of an inlot and an outlot, which he or his representative 
drew at the lottery held at the mouth of Mad River November 4, 
1795. When the original proprietors failed and retired, settlers 
were obliged to pay two dollars an acre, one dollar for a town 
lot, and did it willingly, at the Cincinnati land office to secure 
these "donations." The town nearly died out between 1802 and 
1S03. Four cabins were vacant and onlj^ five families lived 
here — those of George Newcom, Samuel Thompson, John Welsh, 
Paul D. Butler, and George Westfall. The Van Cleve brothers 


and William Newcom and John Williams were fanning. The 
McClures and Arnett had moved away. But Mr. Cooper brought 
the town to life again, and .secured satisfactory titles by patent 
or deed. Mr. Cooper made several plats of the town ; that of 
i8os provided for a little park at the intersection of lilain and 
Third streets, with a court-house in the center. In 1S09 he made 
a revised plat to conform to deeds and patents, and to the plat 
made by the original proprietors in 1795, and to this plat all 
subsequent additions have been made. Prior to the record of 
this plat of 1809, property was seldom transferred by deed ; the 
county commissioners established a rule that that party would 
be recognized as the owner of a lot whose name appeared 
on the plat opposite any lot number ; thus, to pass the title of 
a piece of propert}' from one person to another, all that was 
necessary was a verbal request of the owner to have the pur- 
chaser's name placed in the list instead of his own. Of these 
transactions, be they few or man)-, no record has been preser^-ed, 
but instead of such record a perfect list of lot owners at the time 
the plat of 1809 was recorded, fonns the basis of title to all the 
original three hundred and twent^'-one lots of Daj'ton. 

At first, county and township ofiicers were appointed b}' the 
Territorial governor and courts. In 1S02 Ohio became a State, 
and Montgomery was separated from Hamilton Count)'. Popu- 
lation had now increased till it was thought best to authorize an 
election b)' the people of additional officers. Jerome Holt, sheriff 
of the countv, was directed to give notice to the inhabitants of 
Daj'ton Township to con^'ene at the house of George Newcom 
and proceed to elect by ballot a chairman, town clerk, three or 
more trustees or managers, two or more overseers of the poor, 
three fence- viewers, two appraisers of houses, a lister of taxable 
property, a sufficient number of super\-isors of roads, and one or 
more constables. The first county court was opened in an upper 
room at Newcom's July 27 of this year. In INIarch, 1S03, the first 
State Legislature, at Chillicothe, recommended Dayton for the 
county-seat, and the selection was confinned in April b^'the com- 
missioners appointed to designate county-seats. The half-deserted 
backwoods village of Daj'ton seemed an unpromising place for a 
count^'-seat. But it was the nucleus of a number of farming 
settlements, and was the principal hamlet in the township. The 
growth and improvement of Dayton was nuirked after it became 
the county-seat. The taxes for 1804 amounted to ;g458. 40. Main 

\ "^ 


Street was cleared to Warren Street in 1S04, and the gully at the 
Main and Third Street crossing filled with walnut logs cut in 
the woods where Cathcart's livery-stable now stands. 

This 3'ear Mr. Cooper built a sawmill on First Street and a 
grist-mill at the head of Mill Street, to which in 1809 he added 
a carding-machine. He built a levee for the protection of his 
Mill Street property. At an early date Mr. Cooper employed 
Silas Broadwell to build a levee to protect the western part of the 
town, agreeing to give him certain lots in its vicinity in payment 
for making it and keeping it in repair. The levee began at 
Wilkinson Street, and ran west a considerable distance with the 
meanderings of the Miami. 

When Mr. Cooper gave lots on the east side of<|Main Street, 
opposite the Court-house, for a church and graveyard, the}^ 
were considered so far out of the way that it was not supposed 
that the town would extend much beyond them ; but by 1805 
property in that neighborhood was wanted for residences or 
business. The log-cabin meeting-house was sold for twenty-two 
dollars, which became the nucleus of a building-fund for a new 
church, and the graveyard was platted and sold at auction at 
the Court-house. Mr. Cooper gave a new graveyard of four acres 
at the south side of Fifth Street, between Ludlow and Wilkinson 
streets, equal shares being given to the First Presbyterian and 
the Methodist churches and the town of Dayton. The new 
Presbyterian church, on Second and Ludlow streets, was not 
built till 1817. Two structures have succeeded it — one of brick, 
built in 1839, and the present stone church, built in 1867. Till 
the church of 1817 was completed, the congregation held services 
at Newcom's, or at McCullum's new brick tavern, southwest 
corner of Main and Second streets, removing in 1806 to the new 

Mr. Cooper was deeply interested in the new Presbyterian 
church. When the bell for the church arrived at his store, south- 
east corner of Main and First streets, in i8i8, he placed it on a 
wheelbarrow, and himself wheeled it to the corner of Second 
and Ludlow streets. He over-exerted himself, and burst a blood- 
vessel, which caused his death. He left two sons, who both died 
young and without children. Mr. Cooper won the respect and 
affection of all his fellow-citizens. To no one does the present 
generation owe a larger debt of gratitude. When he died, his 
affairs were somewhat involved ; but by prudent management 



his executors, James Steele and H. G. Phillips, relieved the estate 
from embarrassment, and it henceforth steadily increased in 
value. Every improvement of this large property benefited 
the city. 

A jail was built of round logs in the fall of 1804 on the end 
of the Third Street side of the Court-house lot. It was thirty 
feet long, sixteen wide, and twelve high, and contained two 
disconnected cells, floored and ceiled with logs. There were 
but three small windows in the building, secured bj' two-inch 
plank shutters and iron bars, and but two doors, also of two-inch 
plank, spiked and hung on iron hinges. The doors and shutters 
were locked on the outside, and the ke3-s kept b}- Sheriff Is ewcom 
at his tavern, three squares off. During the sessions of court at 
the tavern a doorkeeper was appointed to conduct prisoners to 
and from the jail. This log fortress, which was built for 1:299 by 
David Squier, in two months, was stronger than the blockhouses 
which did such good service during the Indian wars, and 
answered everj- purpose till it became necessarj- that the sheriff 
should live at the jail, when one of stone was erected. 



John W. Van Cleve— First White Male Child Bom in Dayton —Friendship 
for R. W. Steele— Biographies of Van Cleve by R. "VV. Steele— Minutes 
Kept and Societies Founded by Van Cleve— His Exquisite Handwriting 

— Hia Versatility and Thoroughness— Proficiency in Ancientand Modern 
Languages— Teaches Latin at College Before Graduation— Talent for 
Mathematics — Translations— Water-Color Pictures of Wild Flowers— A 
True Booli-Lover — Studies Law — Edits the Dayton Journal — In the Drug 
Business — Devotes Himself to Labors for the Public Good — A Civil Engi- 
neer — An Engraver — Talent for Painting — Plays Several Musical Instru- 
ments—A Botanist and Geologist— To Him We Owe Woodland Cemetery 

— Love of Plants and Trees — Plants the Levees with Trees — Surrounds 
the Court-House with Elms — Fondness for Children — Delightful Picnics 
^His Great Size — Interest in Schools and Libraries — Founder and 
Supporter of Dayton Library Association — Free Lectures on Scientific, 
Historical, or Literary Subjects — AflTection and Pride with Which He 
was Regarded — Devotion to His Kindred — Friendship Between Him 
and His Father— Public Offices in Town that He Held — His Map of 
Dayton — Writes Songs and Designs and Engraves Illustrations for the 
Log Cabin — The Whig Glee Club Trained by Professor Turpin — Mr. Van 
Cleve and Others Accompany the Club to the Columbus Convention — 
His Death — His Unbending Integrity and Scrupulous Honesty — Council 
Passes Resolutions of Respect — Dr. T. E. Thomas's Funeral Oration^ 
Isaac Spining — William King — The Osborns — John H. Williams — The 
First Postoffice in Dayton — Mail-Routes — Post-Rider to Urbana — Trials of 
Benjamin Van Cleve, First Postmaster — His Successor, George S. Houston 
— Joseph Peirce — Joseph H. Crane — Colonel Robert Patterson — Schools — 
Dayton Incorporated- McCullum's Tavern— Social Library Society. 

Our early historj' would be incomplete without some account 
of John W. Van Cleve, the first male child bom in Dayton, and 
who became locally noted for literar}', scientific, and artistic 
attainments, and for life-long, unsalaried work for the public 
good. He was the son of Benjamin and Mary Whitten Van 
Cleve, and was born June 27, iSoi. From the writings and con- 
versation of the two Van Cleves, and from the files of Dayton 
newspapers, commencing with the first paper published here, 
preserved by them and presented to the Public Library by the 
son, Maskell E. Curwen, Ashley Brown, Robert W. Steele, and 
others obtained the greater part of the material for their histories 


of Dayton. During his last illness, J. W. Van Cleve explained 
to R. W. Steele, a younger man but congenial friend, who, from 
his youth, had devoted himself to disinterested philanthropic 
and educational labors, his plans for the benefit of his beloved 
native city, and placed in his hands constitutions, reports, and 
minutes of various societies, of which Mr. Van Cleve had been 
the animating spirit and usually the founder ; and Mr. Steele 
constituted himself the biographer and eulogist of Mr. Van 
Cleve, sketching his portrait^ with all the literary skill and 
sympathetic touches at his command, in a number oi publica- 
tions. It is a matter of regret that he did not collect and 
combine in an elaborate biography the facts in regard to his 
friend which he scattered through several articles ; but it was 
his nature to, sow broadcast with a liberal hand, regardless of 
personal considerations. 

The minutes kept b}' John W. Van Cleve were written in an 
exquisitely beautiful hand, which, like his father's, was as 
legible as copper-plate; so that it seemed a desecration for an 
inferior penman to make an entr}^ in the books. The minutes of 
the Montgomery County Horticultural Society', of which he was 
one of the founders, he decorated with a water-color painting of 
a large, richly tinted peach on a branch, with leaves clustering 
about it. He was interested in agriculture, introduced modem 
methods and niachinerj' on his farm, and tried man5' experi- 
ments, endeavoring, among other things, to make raisins from 
his grapes. 

Benjamin Van Cleve determined that his only son should enjoy 
the intellectual and moral training and affectionate parental 
supervision of which he himself had been deprived. His boy 
responded to all his attempts to guide and instruct him, and 
more than answered his expectations. The son inherited the 
father's methodical, industrious, and persevering habits, and 
his facult}^ of attaining bj' his own efforts what he had no 
opportunit}' of learning from others. He was remarkable for 
both versatilit)' and thoroughness, and might have been de- 
scribed in the broadest sense as an all-round man, but for a slight 
lack of development of the imaginative and emotional side of 
his nature. He must have been largely self-taught, for sixt}' or 
seventy j'ears ago teachers of accomplishments, or of anj'thing 
outside the ordinary branches of education, were not to be 
obtained in Ohio. The journey to Eastern centers of culture 

i8oo-iSos 69 

was long and expensive. Specially talented young people did 
not, as is now cvistomary, spend a winter or two in New York 
or Boston engaged in literary, scientific, or artistic study. 

John Van Cleve was a born scholar, endowed with a vigorous 
intellect, remarkable memory, and a facility for acquiring a 
knowledge of both mathematics and languages. When but ten- 
years old, his father wrote of him, ' ' My son John is now study- 
ing Latin, and promises to become a fine scholar." He entered 
the Ohio University at Athens, of which his father was a trustee, 
when he was sixteen, and acquired so high a reputation for 
scholarship that before his graduation he was employed as a 
teacher of both Latin and Greek in the college. He began to 
teach Latin in 1817, his first 3'ear at college. Writing to ask his 
father's permission to teach, he says : "I think it would inform 
me in the Latin a great deal. I believe with one month's practice 
now in speaking the Latin I could speak very nearly as freely in 
it as I can in English." In 1S19 he taught Greek and Latin sev- 
eral hours a day without interfering with his own lessons in his 
class. The regular work was so insufficient for him that the pro- 
fessors volunteered to give him advanced instruction out of 
college hours. He was equally proficient in mathematics, and 
wrote from the Ohio University to his father, " I consider Euclid 
the most pleasing study I ever undertook, and find no difiiculty 
in understanding the propositions." In another letter he says 
that it is impossible for him to keep along with his class ; it 
would have been more correct to say that his class could not keep 
up with him. Between three and five problems of Euclid each 
day were all that was required of students. Mr. Van Cleve was 
not satisfied with such easy work, and obtained permission to 
learn fifteen problems daily. 

Mr. R. W. Steele saj's ; "I recollect that, when Colborn's 
' Intellectual Arithmetic ' was first introduced here, the late 
John W. Van Cleve, an accomplished and noted man in his day, 
told me that he went through the book at a sitting with great 
pleasure. How idle it would be to advise everybody to take up 
and read Colborn's arithmetic as a pleasant recreation ! Mr. Van 
Cleve was a man of decided taste for mathematics, and before 
Colbom we had no intellectual arithmetic or analysis in our 
schools, which accounts for his pleasure in the book." 

After leaving college Mr. Van Cleve studied French and Ger- 
man, translating from the latter language the first volume of 


Goldfuss and Schiller's "Robbers," and a number of plays and 
fair}' tales. He copied the fairy tales with his own hand into a 
pretty volume, which he presented to a little girl. To another 
young lady friend he gave a volume of water-color pictures of 
the wild flowers of Montgomery County, writing the botanical 
name below each picture. The flowers are as remarkable for 
scientific accurac}- of form and coloring as for artistic beauty. 
Mr, Van Cleve was a true book-lover, and gradualh" collected a 
good library. He subscribed for the American and foreign 
magazines, and it was probablj' the translations and critical and 
biographical articles in these magazines that led him to stud}- 
German — a language neglected by English-speaking students 
till the beginning of the nineteenth centurj-. As there was no 
teacher of modern languages in Da3-ton, he taught himself Ger- 
man and French. He contributed to a number of periodicals. In 
most directions he was a generous man, but he was almost 
miserly when his beloved books were concerned. He would 
only lend to those whom he thought genuinely interested in 
literature, and from each one he exacted a promise, entered in a 
ledger under his name and the date, that the book should be 
returned in good condition on a specified da}'. If the promise 
was not kept, the borrower received a notification of his remiss- 
ness, which was repeated with the addition of a sharp reprimand, 
till the work was safely restored to his shelves. A number of 
his books are in the possession of his relations. Some of his 
volumes, enriched by marginal notes in his own hand, are in 
the Public Library. Occasionally he bound, or rebound, a 
volume himself in heavy leather, preservation, and not beaut}-, 
being his aim. He intended to write a history of the Northwest 
Territory, and made some preparation for the never-really-under- 
taken book. His memoranda jotted down for this purpose, and 
his notes on his general reading, book lists, and private accounts, 
are as beautiful and exquisitely neat as if intended for exhibi- 
tion, and not merely for his own eye. Among his manuscripts 
are letters from distinguished scientists with whom he corre- 

When he returned from college, he studied law with Judge 
Joseph H. Crane, and was admitted to the bar in 182S ; but he 
did not find the practice of the law congenial, and in December, 
1828, he abandoned the legal profession and purchased an interest 
in the Dayton Journal, which he edited till 1834. In the latter 

1S00-1S05 ^l 

3'ear he entered into partnership in the drug business with 
Augustus Newell, furnishing the capital, but leaving the control 
of the concern in the hands of Mr. Newell. 

In 1851, as he possessed what was a competenc}' for an unmar- 
ried man, Mr. Van Cleve retired from business and devoted 
himself with the most indefatigable industrj- for the rest of his 
life to stud}' and art and the promotion of whatever would benefit 
and adorn his native city. He became an accomplished musician, 
painter, engraver, civil engineer, botanist, and geologist. He 
had verj- decided talent for painting, and did excellent work in 
oils and water-colors, though he probablj- never took a lesson in 
either. One of his most interesting water-colors is a painting of 
the east side of Main Street, between Second and Third streets, 
as it was in 1S55, which he gave to INIiss Martha Holt. Mrs. 
Thomas Dover has three oil landscapes, one of them being painted 
for the purpose of introducing a verjr tall and magnificent tree 
in the foreground, the river and sawmill behind it plaj-ing a 
subordinate part. Mrs. Dover also has a number of water-color 
sketches of river scenery- and seven or eight pictures of peaches 
of different varieties, one on each card. Mr. Van Cleve said he 
first painted their portraits and then ate them. He gathered 
them, no doubt, from his own trees. 

He played well on several instruments. For a number of years 
he was organist of Christ Episcopal Church. In 1S23 the Plejel 
Society, the first Dayton musical society, was formed, and he was 
elected president. He gave much time to the studj* of botau}- 
and geolog3', and collected a cabinet of fossils of this neighbor- 
hood, which he presented bj- will to the High School. Several 
sheets of the fossils of the Daj'ton limestone engraved b}' him 
are preserved at the Dayton Public Library'. These engravings 
have been published in the Indiana Geological Reports. He 
made a complete herbarium of the plants indigenous to this 
region, which at his death he gave to Cooper Female Seminar}-. 
No care was taken of either his cabinet or herbarium. The 
remains of them are at the Public Library and Museum. He 
corresponded and exchanged specimens with scientists all over 
the United States. His list of trees growing in Woodland Cem- 
etery in 1843 is interesting to botanists. 

To him we owe Woodland Cemetery, the third in order of time 
of the rural cemeteries opened in the United States. He sug- 
gested that the beautiful grounds, now the pride of Dayton, 


should be secured and improved for that purpose, and persistently- 
carried the project through to completion. The cemeter}- was 
laid out, the roads run, the platting done, the accounts kept, by 
this skilled surve^-or and bookkeeper, and all the duties of a 
superintendent performed b}- him, without compensation, during 
the earlier j-ears of its history. He was president of the associa- 
tion till his death. 

For no one could a park be more appropriately' named than for 
such an enthusiastic lover of nature and his fellow-men as 
John Van Cleve. The only thing else in Da3-ton called for him 
is a street which runs through what was once a part of his model 
farm. When the levees were built, or enlarged, he obtained sub- 
scriptions from citizens, heading the list himself, to purchase and 
plant trees on both sides of the levees, without expense to the 
city. At first, elms were planted on the river side and maples on 
the other side. After-wards silver-leaf poplars, recentlv intro- 
duced, and then much admired, were also set out. He planted 
the trees himself. The little granddaughter of a pioneer used to 
accompanj- him, and note down from his dictation, in his 
memorandum-book, under the proper date, the variety of tree 
planted and its exact position. 

He knew the name of nearlv even,- plant and tree within 
Montgomery County, and in what locality they could be found. 
Through his influence the earh- residents of Dayton felt a 
special interest and pride in the flowers and trees of the sur- 
rounding woods and prairies. He loved to bring home from his 
botanical excursions elegant shrubs or rare flowering plants, 
which, as he lived at an hotel, he presented to friends, setting 
them out himself in their yards. It would have seemed to him 
a cruel act to transplant them from their congenial country 
home, and allow them to pine or die from careless or ignorant 
treatment. He would have sympathized with the saying of 
Montaigne that "there is a certain respect and general duty 
of humanity that ties us, not only to beasts, that have life and 
.sense, but even to trees and plants." Had he had the making 
of the constitution of the Humane Society, it would have 
included the protection of trees as well as of women, children, 
and animals. Many a noble forest tree did he save from destruc- 
tion or mutilation by his entreaties. About 1S50 he planted elms 
on Main and Third streets, along the sidewalks of the Court-house 
lots. He wished his native place to be as beautiful as the elm- 

1800-1805 73 

embowered New England towns, and thought these glorious 
trees would keep his memory as a public benefactor green for 
generations ; but his ungrateful fellow-citizens, as soon as his 
elms began to fulfill his expectations, chopped them down. 

Mr. Van Cleve was fond of children and they loved him. On 
many a pleasant spring, summer, or autumn morning he might 
have been seen leading a little company on foot, or to take the 
cars to the woods for an all-day picnic. He wanted the children to 
himself, and no grown people were invited. He had some eccen- 
tricities, which, however, only excited a pleasurable awe and 
curiosity. The children were not permitted, for instance, to ask 
what time it was. He either made no reply to such a question 
or answered that it was not polite, and a reflection upon his power 
of entertaining them, and that, at any rate, children had no 
business to think or know anything about time. He would 
sometimes suddenly put his hand within his shirt-bosom and 
draw out what he called "a beautiful, harmless little garter- 
snake," dropping it, perhaps, into a girl's lap. If she had the 
tact or nerve not to scream, she was henceforth one of his prime 
favorites. When he took children to the woods, he knew where 
to find quantities of wild flowers, mushrooms, nuts, elderberries, 
May-apples, haws, papaws, — "nature's custard," — persimmons, 
slipperv'-elm, spicewood, sassafras, etc., and these wild things 
gathered and commended by him had a flavor with which the 
liveliest imagination could not now invest them. He led you to 
the clearest and coolest moss-bordered springs, and his eye was 
quick to see beautiful and grotesque dead or growing shrubs and 
trees, birds, squirrels, and every lovely living thing; and a 
pause was always made to enjoy a fine view or landscape. In 
his botany box he carried, besides other luncheon, small pieces 
of beefsteak, one for each member of the party. These he 
transfixed with snow-white twigs from which he had peeled the 
bark, and then, arranging the children in front of a blazing fire 
he had built, showed them how to hold the twigs so as to cook 
their steak in the delicious fashion of their pioneer ancestors. If 
it was the proper season for wild grapes, clusters were squeezed 
into a bright new tincup, mixed with sugar and water, and the 
beverage drunk in turn by each of the part5'. 

Mr. Van Cleve was a giant in size — tall, of large frame, and 
weighing over three hundred pounds. Once, when making a 
call on a friend, the five-year-old son of his host, after walking 


round him several times, observing him curiousl}', stopped in 
front of him, and said, "Mr. Van Cleve, when you was a little 
boy, was you a little boy?" Though usually sensitive about 
his size, he laughed, and took this as a good joke. Hits at 
prominent citizens were freely indulged in in the old-fashioned 
New- Year's address, brought to ever^- door for sale on the ist of 
January. In one of the ' ' addresses ' ' appeared this rhj-me : 

"If all flesh is grass, as the Scriptures say, 
Then Van Cleve would make a load of hay." 

He was the first male child bom in Daj-ton, and, being of very- 
great size, was often pointed out to strangers as a specimen of 
what Dayton could produce. 

Mr. Van Cleve was warml}' interested in libraries and schools, 
and gave liberallj- of time and mone}' to both. He preser^-ed and 
presented to the Public Librarj- the records of the old Davton 
Academy, from which all the earh* school history of Daj-ton was 
obtained. In the later years of its histor\- he was connected with 
our first library, incorporated in 1S05. He was one of the found- 
ers, in 1847, of the Davton Library- Association, now merged in 
the Public School Librarj*. During the rest of his life the librar}- 
was one of the objects in which he was most interested. He pre- 
sented to it valuable newspapers, minutes, magazines, and books, 
served as an officer of the association, and assisted in selecting 
the first volumes that were purchased. " The list numbered but 
little over one thousand volumes, but the books were Charles 
Lamb's 'books that are books.' " Whenever a public entertain- 
ment was gotten up for the benefit of literary or philanthropic 
objects, Mr. Van Cleve was an active promoter of the undertak- 
ing. He frequently lectured on scientific, historical, or literari.- 
subjects in the courses provided by the ilechanics' Institute and 
the Dayton Library Association. 

He did a work for Dayton of the kind that only a highlv 
cultivated man of leisure can accomplish. His fellow-citizens 
appreciated his efforts and regarded him with pride, respect, and 
love. At the present da}-, many who were not grown when he 
died, but to whom he had been kind and helpful in their child- 
hood, never think of him without a glow of affection, admira- 
tion, and gratitude. 

He was warmly attached to his kindred, even when not nearlv 
related, and any one with Van Cleve blood in his veins was sure 

iSoo- 1805 75 

of a cordial reception from him, even if not verj' congenial in 
character or pursuits. Though undemonstrative and even some- 
what cold in manner, he was a most affectionate son, brother, and 
uncle. His letters from college reveal the delightful relations 
existing between the son and his father. There is about them a 
tone of frankness, simplicity, certaint}' of comprehension and 
S5-mpathy, of good comradeship and intimate friend,ship, that 
gives one a pleasant impression of both the man and the boj^. 
Ambitious of distinction and fond of study though John Van Cleve 
was, in 1819, when Benjamin Van Cleve was overweighted with 
irnancial cares and anxieties, John urged his father to allow him 
to leave college and come home and help in the business. This 
request was not granted, and the boy was moreover told that 
affairs were in better condition than his solicitude for his family 
had led him to imagine them to be. He always everj- Sunday- 
spent the afternoon and took tea with one of his sisters. He was 
not what is called a great talker, and often, after a little domestic 
chat, would draw a magazine or book from his pocket and soon 
become absorbed in reading. His sisters' children were very 
fond of him, and he did a great deal for their pleasure and profit, 
lending them books, awakening their intelligence, and increasing 
their fund of knowledge by conversing with them. At the time, 
however, they only thought of the enjoyment his visits afforded 
them, and of how delightful it was to have him with them. It 
was he himself they cared for, not what he might give them, or 
what benefit they might derive from association with him. 

Mr. Van Cleve was elected recorder in 1824 and 1S28 ; ser^'ed for 
three terms as Mayor — in 1830, 1831, and 1832, and was several 
times citj' engineer. For a number of years he was connected 
with the volunteer fire department — placed in command by 
Council. In 1S39 ^^ compiled and lithographed a map of the 
cit}', and in 1S49 a city map in book form, renumbering the 
various plats and lots unplatted in 1839. 

He was an enthusiastic Whig, and a warm supporter of Har- 
rison in 1840. When R. N. and W. F. Comlj' published the Log 
Cabin, a Harrison campaign paper, famous all over the United 
States, Mr. Van Cleve wrote many of the songs, and designed 
and engraved the illustrations and caricatures that appeared in 
it. He had a grim sense of humor, and sometimes indulged in 
practical jokes that did not seem laughable to others. Professor 
James Turpin, a musician of repute, and a generous, public- 


spirited man, who was highly esteemed, both professionally and 
socially, composed the accompaniments for the campaign songs. 
Mr. Van Cleve and Mr. Turpin worked together in the latter's 
parlor, musician and writer making mutual changes and conces- 
sions. Mr. Turpin and Mr. Van Cleve had formed and trained a 
Whig Glee Club. The club and a large number of other citizens 
attended the mammoth Harrison convention held at Columbus, 
where Mr. Van Cleve's songs, as sung under Professor Turpin's 
leadership by Dayton singers, were received with wild enthusi- 
asm and prolonged applause. The Da\'ton delegation traveled in 
stage-coaches, decorated profuse!}' with Harrison emblems, and 
during both the journey and the stay in Columbus, where the 
club was crowded into one bedroom, the "fun was fast and 
furious" ; jokes, and quips, and ridiculous tricks, and everything 
that could promote hilarity or increase political excitement, 
always at fever heat during that remarkable campaign, were en- 
couraged and indulged in. 

Mr. Van Cleve died, unmarried, of consumption, September 
6, 1858, after a long illness, which he bore with the greatest 
courage and patience. One of his closest associates wrote of 
him : "A striking trait of his character was his unbending integ- 
rity. His scrupulous honesty was so well known and appreciated 
that he was frequentlj- selected for the discharge of the most 
responsible trusts." His death at the comparativeh' earh- age of 
fifty-seven was regarded as a public calamity. Although he held no 
official position at the time of his death, the Cit}' Council adopted 
resolutions of respect for his memors' and of appreciation of his 
great services to the cit}'. The funeral took place at the First 
Presbj'terian Church, which was crowded with sincere mourners. 
The Rev. Thomas E. Thomas delivered a magnificent funeral 
oration of the kind for which he was so famous, drawing a 
graphic portrait of Mr. Van Cleve, his talents, acquirements, 
and character, and comparing him to a dead lion. 

Three important accessions were made to the Dayton set- 
tlement, in iSoo, 1801, and 1S02, in Isaac Spining, William 
King, and John H. Williams, afterwards closeh' related bj- 
marriage, and who settled in the neighborhood now known as 
the West Side. The name of Judge Spining constantly occurs in 
connection with public alTairs in Dayton. He emigrated from 
New Jersey to the West in 1796, and a few vears later located on a 
farm three miles west of Dayton. His sons, Piorson, Charles H., 

1800-1S05 77 

and George B., were all citizens of note, the first in Springfield 
and the other two in Dayton. Mr. Pierson Spining, before 
removing to Springfield, was in business in Middletown. There 
is a story connected with the goods he was selling at Middletown 
which illustrates his father's business talent and the pluck and 
enterprise of earU' times. Judge Spining, before 1S12, "built a 
flatboat near the head of jNIain Street on the river front. This 
boat was loaded with flour, and with Judge Spining as captain 
floated to New Orleans. Flour was dull in that citjr, and the 
Judge shipped his cargo from that point to Boston, taking pas- 
sage in the vessel which bore his produce. He sold his flour and 
purchased in Philadelphia for his son the goods which made up 
the assortment at the INIiddletown store. The Judge was six 
months in making the round trip from Dayton to New Orleans, 
Philadelphia, and return." 

The son Pierson married, at Dayton, in 1S12, Miss Mary 
Schooley, whose acquaintance he had probably made while a 
clerk in the store of H. G. Phillips. Miss Phebe Peirce, married 
the same year to James Steele, was Miss Schooley's bridesmaid. 
Mrs. Pierson Spining was bom in 1790 in New Jersey, and 
brought, when an infant, to Columbia, near Cincinnati. Here 
the family lived in a log cabin, and when the children attended 
school they were often, as a protection against Indians, sent 
home with an escort of soldiers. As an indication of the fear- 
less and adventurous spirit of the pioneer women, it is said of 
Mrs. Spining that she made "frequent trips from Springfield to 
Cincinnati on horseback, her mother's family living in Springdale, 
in Hamilton County. On one occasion she took her infant child 
as the companion of her journey. At another time she found 
Mill Creek booming. Getting the range of the ford, she boldly 
rode in, her horse swam across the turbulent stream, and she 
continued her excursion to Cincinnati, arriving there without 
further peril in flood or field." In 1863 she removed to Dayton, 
where she lived till she was over fourscore. 

Judge Spining has several descendants living here. Among 
them may be mentioned Mrs. Louisa King, Mrs. Jennie S. Mul- 
ford, Mrs. Mary C. Wade, Miss Elizabeth G. Spining, Mrs. 
Sarah Stewart, and Mrs. JNIar}' McG. Stewart. 

William King, dissatisfied with Kentucky on account of 
slavery, emigrated from that State to this vicinity in 1801. He 
was a remarkable man, distinguished for his strong convictions 


and his conscientious determination to carry them out at what- 
ever cost. He was for many years an elder in the First Presby- 
terian Church, and had something of the Puritan and the 
Covenanter in his composition. He lived to a great old age, 
lacking at his death but three months of being one hundred 
years old. His two elder sons, John and Victor, removed to 
Madison, Indiana. His son Samuel married Mary C, daughter 
of John H. Williams. His daughter Jane married David Osbom. 
The Osborn family are descendants of C5'rus Osborn, who was 
here as early as 1797. Numerous grandchildren of David Osbom 
are living here ; for instance, David L. Osborn, Cyrus V. Osbom, 
James Steele Osborn, Miss Harriet E. Osborn, Miss Harriet 
McGuflFy Osborn. The older grandchildren of William King 
are Miss Nancy King, William B. King, John King, Mrs. Har- 
riet Scott, and Mrs. Eliza Brenneman. 

John H. Williams was an honored and highly esteemed citi- 
zen. His descendants are numerous and prominent. We can 
only mention Mrs. Hiram Lewis, IMrs. David Rench, Miss Susan 
Williams, Miss Nannie B. Williams, Mrs. Lucinda H. Campbell, - 
John W. and Henrj' Stoddard, and Mrs. General S. B. Smith. 

In December, 1803, Benjamin Van Cleve was appointed first 
postmaster of Dayton, and served till his death, in 1S21. He 
opened the postofSce in his cabin, on the southeast comer of 
First and St. Clair streets. Previous to Mr. Van Cleve's ap- 
pointment the only postoffice in the Miami Valley, and as far 
north as Lake Erie, was at Cincinnati. From 1804 to 1S06 the 
people north of Dayton as far as Fort Wayne were obliged to come 
here for their mail. In 1804 Dayton was on the mail-route from 
Cincinnati to Detroit, and the mail was carried by a post-rider, 
who arrived and left here once in two weeks. Soon after, a 
weekly mail, the only one, was established. A letter from 
Dayton to Franklin, or any other town on the route, was sent 
first to Cincinnati and then back again around the circuit to its 
destination. A second route was soon opened from Zanesville, 
Franklinton, and Urbana to Da^-tou. The next improvement 
was a mail from the East bj- way of Chillicothe, arriving and 
leaving Sunday evenings. 

In 1808 a committee of citizens — Judge Joseph H. Crane, 
George Smith, William T. Tennery, William McClure, and Joseph 
Peirce — employed William George to superintend the carrying 
of the mail to Urbana. It was necessary at that date that those 

i8oo-i8os 79 

interested in a proposed new mail-route should raise a fund to 
defray the expense of it, but the Postmaster-General agreed to 
allow toward the expense all that was paid in for postage, etc., 
at the new offices. The following interesting agreement between 
the committee and the Urbana mail-carrier was found a few 
years ago among the papers of William McClure, editor of the 
Repertory, which his brother-in-law. Judge James Steele, had 
preserved : 

"WITNESSETH, That the said George, on his part, binds him- 
self, his heirs, etc., to carr}- the mail from Dayton to Urbana 
once a week and back to Daj-ton for the term that has been 
contracted for between Daniel C. Cooper and the Postmaster- 
General, to commence Friday, the 9th inst., to wit: Leave 
Daj'ton ever3' Fridaj- morning at six o'clock ; leave Urbana 
Saturday morning, and arrive at Dayton Saturday evening, the 
undertakers reserving the right 01 altering the time of the start- 
ing and returning with the mail, allowing the said George two 
daj'S to perform the trip, the post-rider to be emplo^'ed by the 
said George to be approved by the undertakers. They also 
reserve to themselves the right of sending way letters and papers 
on said route, and the said George binds himself to pay for 
everv failure in the requisitions of this agreement on his part 
the sum equal to that required by the Postmaster-General in 
like failures. The said committee, on their part, agree to furnish 
the said George with a suitable horse, furnish the person carrj'ing 
the mail and the horse with sufficient victuals, lodging, and 
feed, and one dollar for each and every trip, to be paid every 
three months." 

Previous to this arrangement a public meeting had been called, 
where the committee on the new mail-route had been appointed. 

Postage, usually not prepaid, but collected on delivery, was 
high, and money scarce. Few ever had a dollar in their posses- 
sion. The Government would not accept paj-ment in corn or 
pelts. Stamps were not used, but the amount due — usually 
twenty-five cents — was written on the outside of the letter, 
which was not enclosed in an envelope. It was a trial, especially 
in vears when people had little in their own town to interest or 
amuse them, and were separated by a journey of many weeks 
from friends in the old home from whence they had emigrated 
to Dayton, to return the letter handed them at the office, because 
they had no money to paj' postage. ]\Ir. Van Cleve was a man 
of the period, and had a fellow-feeling for his penniless, but not 
necessarily povert3--stricken neighbors, and for a time he allowed 
them to take their unpaid-for mail. Soon, however, such notices 


as the following were of frequent occurrence in the newspapers : 
" The postmaster, having been in the habit of giving unlimited 
credit heretofore, finds it his duty to adhere strictly to the 
instructions of the Postmaster-General. He hopes, therefore, 
that his friends will not take it amiss when he assures them that 
no distinction will be made. No letters delivered in the future 
without pay, nor papers without the postage being paid quarterly 
in advance." 

Mr. Van Cleve's successor as postmaster was George S. Hous- 
ton, who came here from New Jersey in 1810, and entered into 
partnership with his brother-in-law, H. G. Phillips. Like Mr. 
Van Cleve, he was an unusually public-spirited citizen, as 
reports of societies and meetings in the old newspapers show, 
and a man of many avocations. From 1821 till his death, in 
183 1, he was editor-in-chief of the Watchman, cashier of the 
Daj-ton Bank, and postma.ster. The postolEce was at his resi- 
dence, a brick dwelling, still standing on the north side of Second 
Street, near Ludlow. 

Joseph Peirce and Judge Joseph H. Crane, who signed the 
agreement with the Urbana mail-carrier, were vers' prominent 
citizens. They married sisters — the daughters of Dr. John 
Elliott. Joseph Peirce was born in Rhode Island in 17S6, and 
was brought to Marietta in 178S bj- his father, who served in 
1779 as an aid-de-camp on the staff of General Horatio Gates^ 
was a shareholder in the Ohio Companj-, and in 17S9 one of the 
founders of Belpre, Ohio. Joseph Peirce spent his childhood in 
the stockades. Farmers' Castle, and Goodale's Garrison, in which 
the people of Belpre took refuge during the Indian war. About 
1805 he came to Da3'ton, and in 1S07 entered into a partnership 
with James Steele, which continued all his life. Thej" retailed, 
as the manuscript advertisement which they circulated states, 
"all sorts of goods, wares, and commodities belonging to the 
trade of merchandising." He was a member of the Legislature 
in 1812. A letter written b}' him to a friend at this time refers 
in an interesting manner to the war then in progress. "Great 
unanimit}' prevails among the members [of the Legislature] so 
far. You no doubt have seen Governor INIeigs's message. You 
will, in a few days, see the patriotic resolutions, approbating the 
general Government, that have been passed. I doubt we have 
promised more than most of us would be willing to perform, 
should we be put to the test. To-daj- I think we shall pass a 

1800-1805 8i 

law furnishing our militia on duty with about |s,ooo worth of 
blankets." Dayton was the rendezvous of the Western troops 
in this war, and our merchants sold largely to the army, waiting, 
however, many a long month before they received their paj' from 
the Government. Mr. Peirce was president of the Dayton Bank 
from 1814 till his death in 1821 of the fever which swept away 
a number of valuable citizens. The obituary notice published in 
the Waichmaji says that he received from his fellow-citizens 
many and various marks of their respect and confidence, and 
faithfully discharged the duties of all the public positions to 
which he was called. Fully appreciating the importance of 
a canal from the Ohio to Lake Erie, he was endeavoring to 
secure its construction when he died. He was an ardent sup- 
porter of Mr. Cooper in the latter's plans for the benefit of the 
town, and was held in the highest regard by his fellow-citizens 
in all public, business, and social relations. He was the father 
of J. C. and the late J. H. Peirce, and the grandfather of J. 
Elliott, Sarah H., Elizabeth F., and Howard F. Peirce, Mrs. 
H. E. Parrott, S. W. and J. P. Davies, Mrs. R. C. Schenck, and 
Mrs. Joseph Dart. 

Judge Joseph H. Crane, the grandfather of J. F. S. and J. H. 
Crane, was noted for profound learning in his profession. He 
was a man of "wide and varied reading, and prodigious memory, 
especially familiar with English history and the English classics 
and poets." He aided in selecting the first books bought for 
the Public Library, and would buy only works of the highest 
character. The Dayton library and schools and other institutions 
received an impetus in right directions from cultivated and far- 
sighted men who came here in the first ten or twelve years of 
the history of the town, which is felt at the present day, and will 
never cease. Judge Crane came to Dayton when twenty-one, at 
the invitation of Mr. Cooper, from New Jersey, where he had 
studied law in the office of Aaron Ogden, a noted lawyer and 
statesman. He became invaluable as attorney and counselor to 
Daniel C. Cooper and the early settlers. He was elected to the 
Legislature in 1809. His colleague, David Purviance, in a letter 
to William McClure, editor of the Repertory, in the possession 
of one of the authors, says under da1,e of December 29, 1809 : 
" Mr. Crane is the only lawyer who is a member of the House 
of Representatives. He conducts with prudence, and is in good 
repute as a member." Crane was a young man and had his 


reputation to win at this period. He served in the War of 1812, 
enlisting with the other gentlemen of the town as a private, but 
at St. Mary's was promoted to sergeant-major of the post. From 
1813 to 1816 he was prosecuting attornej', and was made judge 
in 1817. In 1828 he was elected to Congress, and served eight 
years. From 1836 till his death, in 1851, he practiced law in 
Dayton, venerated b}- all for his high character and great abilit}-. 
In 1804 Colonel Robert Patterson, whose name often occurs in 
the history of Iventuck3- and Ohio during the last years of the 
eighteenth centurjf, came here from Kentucky. He settled on 
the farm now the site of the Cash Register Works, which have 
given his grandsons an international reputation in the business 
world. Colonel Patterson's earl}- life was full of adventure and 
hairbreadth escapes from Indians and other perils of the 
Western wilderness. He was born in 1753 in Bedford Count}-, 
Pennsylvania, and began his military career as a member of a 
company of rangers raised to protect the frontier of his native 
State from Indians. When twent}'-one, he and several other 
young men started in boats from Fort Pitt for Kentuck}-, with 
nine horses and fourteen head of cattle, and supplies, imple- 
ments, and ammunition. At Limestone Creek, in Kentuckj-, the}- 
met, "guarding a little corn-patch with their tomahawks," Simon 
Kenton and Thomas Williams, the only white men in what is 
now that State. In 1777 Patterson and his party cleared land 
and planted corn near a big spring, naming their camp "Lexing- 
ton," in honor of the Revolutionary battle. Later, he entered 
land and laid out the city at this point. In 17S7 he was one of 
the founders of Cincinnati. He accompanied General George 
Rogers Clark in the Illinois campaign in 1778, and Colonel 
Bowman in the expedition against the Shawnee towns at old 
Chillicothe in 1779; served as captain in 1780 in General Clark's 
raid on old Chillicothe and old Miami ; was in command of 
a company of Logan's regiment in Clark's campaign, in 
1782, against Indians at Piqua, on the ]\Iiami, and at Laramie. 
Colonel Logan's command camped three da^s at the mouth of 
Mad River; that is to say, at Dayton. In 17S6 Patrick Henry, 
Governor of Virginia, commissioned Robert Patterson a colonel 
in the "State Line." In 17S6 his regiment of Colonel Logan's 
division marched to destroy the INIacacheek towns on Mad 
River. But for these battles and victories over the Indians, in 
which Colonel Patterson was for many years engaged, the Dayton 

I800-I805 83 

settlement would have been an impossibility. His part in the 
history of our city is of the greatest importance, for he helped 
win its site from the Indians, and secured a peaceful and pros- 
perous home for the pioneers. He was present with his regiment 
at "St. Clair's defeat" in 1791. In the War of 1812 he had 
charge of transportation of supplies from Camp Meigs, near 
Daj'ton, north to the armj^. All his later years he was a sufferer 
from wounds received in his campaigns. 

Colonel Patterson's wife died in 1833. They had nine children, 
all deceased. Their son Jefferson (like his father, always called 
Colonel) was bom in Daj'ton Maj' 27, 1801, and was a man of 
high character and an influential citizen. He was a member 
of the Legislature at the time of his sudden death in 1863. 
Colonel Jefferson Patterson married, in 1833, Julia, daughter of 
Colonel John Johnston, who sur\dves him. Colonel Johnston was 
a very noted man in Indian affairs, being in the employ of the 
United States Government. He succeeded in both doing justice 
to the Indians and securing the safety of the white inhabitants 
even during the War of 1812. Colonel Jefferson Patterson's 
children, Robert, S. J., J. H., and F. J. Patterson, and Mrs. J. H. 
Crane, are well known. Colonel Robert Patterson's daughter 
Catharine married, first, Henry Brown ; second, Andrew Irwin ; 
third, H. G. Phillips. Her children, the late Judge R. P. and 
Henry L. Brown, Mrs. Charles Anderson, and A. Barr Irwin, 
were long prominent in Dayton. Mr. Irwin and Mrs. Anderson 
now live in Kentucky. 

After Benjamin Van Cleve closed his blockhouse school, children 
were dependent upon their parents for instruction till 1804, when 
Cornelius Westfall opened a school, probably on Main Street, 
next the High School lot. He was a Kentuckian, and, after he 
ceased to teach, was for many j^ears clerk of the Miami Court of 
Common Pleas. His successor as teacher, in 1805, was Swansey 
Whiting, an educated man from Pennsylvania, who became a 

The town of Dayton was incorporated by the Legislature 
February 12, 1805. The act of incorporation provided for the 
election, bj' freeholders who had lived in Dayton six months, of 
seven trustees, a collector, supervisor, and marshal. The trus- 
tees were empowered to elect a treasurer, who need not be a 
member of their board, and to choose a president (in effect, 
mayor) and a recorder from their own number. The board of 


trustees was known as ' ' the Select Council of the city of Day- 
ton." Till 1814 annual public meetings were held, where esti- 
mates and expenditures for town improvement and government 
purposes were discussed and authorized by popular vote. Meet- 
ings of the Select Council were, for ten years, held at residences 
of members. Councilmen were fined twenty-five cents if thirtj' 
minutes late. In 1805 Council proposed raising the expenses of 
the town, which were seventy-two dollars, bj' taxation. But the 
proposition was defeated at a meeting of voters called to discuss 
it. Seventeen voted against taxation, and thirteen for it. 

The first brick house erected in Da3-ton was McCullum's 
Tavern, two stories high and built in 1805 on the southwest 
comer of Main and Second streets. It was used as a hotel till 
1870, when it was converted into a business house. In 1880 it 
was torn down. A bell in a belfrj' on the Second Street side of 
the roof called guests to breakfast, alwa3-s ser\-ed before da3'light, 
and to the other meals, also read}' at earlj' hours. In 1812 a 
picture of tlie capture of the British frigate Giierritre by the 
American frigate Constitution , was painted on McCullum's sign, 
a large one fastened to a tall post on the pavement in front of the 
house. A highly colored engraving of this naval .battle was a 
favorite ornament of Dayton parlors at that period. From 1805 
to 1807 the count}- court was held at McCullum's, the commis- 
sioners agreeing to pay him twenty-five dollars a j-ear for the use 
of as much of his house as would be needed. 

The Dayton Social Librar}- Society was incorporated bj- the 
Legislature in 1S05, ]\Ir. Cooper, Avho was a member of the Leg- 
islature at that date, no doubt attending to the matter. This was 
the first library incorporated in Ohio. The incorporators were 
Rev. William Robertson, Dr. John Elliott, William Miller, Ben- 
jamin Van Cleve, and John Folkerth. John Folkerth was 
treasurer ; Robertson, iMiller, and Elliott, directors. It is credit- 
able to our pioneers that a library and an academ}- were estab- 
lished as early as 1805 and 1807. Benjamin Van Cleve was 
appointed librarian, and the books were kept at the postoflice, at 
St. Clair and First streets. When he died, Squire Folkerth took 
charge of them at his office, in the one-story extension of the 
building on the northeast corner of First and Main streets. Bor- 
rowers were assessed three cents for a drop of tallow, or for 
folding down a leaf and in proportion for anj- other damage, and 
were fined one quarter of tlie cost of a book lent to a person not 

uE J. H. PatUT-.,n. 


1800-1805 85 

belonging to the society or allowed to be taken into a school. It 
was determined by lottery who should have the first choice, and 
so on, for each proprietor. The constitution provided for a 
monthly business-meeting of proprietors in the log-cabin meet- 
ing-house. In 1822 the Gridiron advertises a farce to be given by 
the Thespian Society for the benefit of the library. John W. Van 
Cleve said of this librarj' ; " The number of books is small, but 
they are well selected, being principally useful standard books, 
which should be found in all institutions of the kind. Among 
them are the North American and American Quarterly Reviews 
for the last few years." September 8, 1835, Henry Stoddard, 
William Bomberger, and J. W. Van Cleve, committee, advertised 
the library for sale at auction at the clerk's office at 2 p. m., 
Saturday, the 12th inst. 



First Disastrous Flood — Emigrants from New Jersey — Charles Russell 
Greene — Ferries — First Court-House — First Newspaper — First Brick 
Stores — Jaraes Steele — Robert "\V. Steele — Dayton Academy — James 
Hanna — John Folkerth — First Teachers in the Academy — William M. 
Smith — James H. Mitchell — E. E. Barney — Trustees of Academy in 1833 
— Collins Wight — Milo G. Williams — Transfer of Academy to Board of 
Education- Henry Bacon- Luther Bruen — Antislavery Excitement- 
Arrest and Suicide of a Furtive Slave — Colored People Leave Dayton 
for Hayti — A Colonization Society Formed — Antislavery Society- 
Union Meeting-House, Principally Built by Luther Bruen — Dr. Birney 
and Mr. Rankin Mobbed— Dr. H. Jewett — Dr. John Steele — Advertise- 
ment of a Runaway Slave — Jonathan Harshnian — First Brick Residence 
—The Cannon "Mad Anthony " — Rev. James Welsh, M.D. — Dr. John 
Elliott- Town Prospering — No Care Taken of Streets or Walks — Grimes's 
Tavern — Alexander Grimes— Reid's Inn — Colonel Reid — Second News- 
paper, the JJcpcrtoj'!/- Advertisements in the -R<>pertorj/— Matthew Patton 
— Abram Darst — Pioneer Women. 

In March, 1805, a disastrous flood — the first of anj' importance 
that had occurred since the settlement of Davton — swept over 
the town plat. No levees had been built at this date, and when 
the town began to raise them they were repeatedU- washed 
away. It took long and painful experience to teach the lesson 
that levees must be high and strong. John W. Van Cleve 
describes this flood in an address on the ' ' Settlement and Prog- 
ress of Dayton," delivered in 1S33 before the Dayton Lyceum, a 
literary society, having a public library connected with it. The 
address was printed in a morning paper. 

"In the spring of 1S05," Mr. Van Cleve says, "Dayton was 
inundated by an extraordinarj- rise of the river. In all ordinarv 
freshets the water used to pass through the prairie at the east 
side of the town, where the basin now is; but the flood of iSos 
covered a great portion of the town itself There were onlv two 
.spots of dry land within the whole place. The water came out 
of the river at the head of JeffeVsou Street, and ran down to the 
common at the east end of old ISIarket Street, in a stream which 


1S05-1S09 87 

a horse could not cross without swimming-, leaving an island 
between it and the mill. A canoe could be floated at the inter- 
section of First Street with St. Clair, and the first dr}- land was 
west of that point. The western extremity of that island was 
near the crossing of Main and First streets, from whence it bore 
down in a southern direction towards where the sawmill now 
stands, leaving a dry strip from a point on the south side of 
Main Cross Street [now Third], between Jefferson Street and the 
prairie, to the river bank at the head of Main Street. Almost 
the whole of the land was under water, with the exception of 
those two islands, from the river to the hill which circles round 
south and east of town from Mad River to the !Miami. The 
water was probabl3' eight feet deep in Main Street, at the Court- 
house, where the ground has since been raised several feet. 

"In consequence of the flood, a considerable portion of the 
inhabitants became strongl}' disposed to abandon the present 
site of the town, and the proposition was made and urged very 
strenuously that lots should be laid off upon the plain upon 
the second rise on the southeast of the town, through which the 
Wa3'nesville road passes ; and that the inhabitants should take 
lots there in exchange for those which they owned upon the pres- 
ent plat, and thus remove the town to a higher and more secure 
situation. The project, however, was defeated by the unyielding 
opposition of some of the citizens, and it was no doubt for the 
advantage and prosperity of the place that it was." 

Some of us can remember how certain aged pioneers used to 
upbraid the founders of the town for putting it down in a hollow, 
instead of on the hills to the southeast, and expatiate on the folly 
which the people were guilty of in voting against the removal, 
after the terrible freshet of 1805, to high ground. "Some day 
there will be a flood which will sweep Daj-ton out of existence," 
those ancient men and women used to prophesy to their grand- 

In no way did Daniel C. Cooper confer a greater benefit upon 
his town than by inducing a number of men of superior educa- 
tion, character, and business capacit}- to come here from his 
native New Jerse}' and other States, between 1S04 and iSoS. 
About 1S04 or 1S05 arrived Charles Russell Greene, whose sister 
Mr. Cooper married. He was born in Rhode Island, but as, like 
his cousin Joseph Peirce, he was the son of a shareholder in the 
Ohio Compau}', his youth was spent at Marietta. The boys who 


came to Ohio in 1788 received a good education, for the com- 
pany employed excellent teachers ; and if these had been 
wanting, men, of whom there were many, of the ability and 
knowledge of Isaac Peirce and Charles Greene, fathers of Joseph 
Peirce and Charles R. Greene, were capable of instructing their 
sons themselves. When Charles R. Greene first came to Daj-ton, 
he was in business with I\Ir. Cooper. Afterwards he had a store 
of his own. He succeeded Benjamin Van Cleve in 1821 as 
clerk of the court, a position for which he was eminentlj- fitted. 
He was remarkably elegant and fine-looking. An old gentleman 
who was a child when Mr. Greene died was fond of relating how 
admiringly the boj-s used to watch this handsome, graceful man, 
mounted on a beautiful, spirited white horse, taking his dailj' 
ride down Main Street out into the countr}-. Mr. Greene married 
a daughter of Henry Disbrow, a prominent Daj-ton business 
man. Thej' had six children : Luciana Zeigler, married J. D. 
Phillips ; Sophia, married E. T. Scheuck ; Eliza, married David 
Z. Peirce ; Cooper, died unmarried ; Harriet, married David Jun- 
kin; Charles H., married Adeline D. Piper. All are deceased 
except Mrs. Schenck. Mrs. C. R. Greene died November 3, 1S73, 

Mr. Greene was a highh' esteemed citizen, and his death in 
1S31 threw a gloom over the whole community. Even the man 
who, while under the influence of liquor, caused his death admit- 
ted that he had killed his best friend. The indignation against 
the murderer was intense. At a fire, which occurred here on the 
night of September 10, 1833, Mr. Greene, one of the fire-wardens, 
ordered ^Matthew Thompson, who was looking idh- on, to assist 
in passing water in the leather buckets to the little engine, which 
was now always used in addition to the buckets. Thompson 
refused, and offering some resistance when the order was 
repeated, j\Ir. Greene was obliged to use force to compel him to 
obey. The next day, on the complaint of Thompson, Mr. Greene 
was summoned to appear before the squire. "While he was being 
questioned, Thompson struck him with a club, death resulting 
in a short time. ;Mr. Greene's sister, Jlrs. Cooper, by her third 
marriage became the mother of !Major Fielding Loury, the father 
of Charles G. and Sophie Loury, :Mrs. Anna Daua, and 2ilrs. 
Elise L. Smith. 

There were no bridges over the Miami or i\Iad River in iSoq : 
but there were two ferries over the Miami — one at the foot of 
First Street, at the old ford ou the road to Salem, and another at 

1805- 1 8o9 89 

the foot of Fourth Street, on the road to Gernmntown. The 
First-Street ferry was used till a bridge was built in 1819. Ferry 
rates w-ere fixed by the county commissioners, as follows : 
loaded wagon and team, seventy-five cents empty wagon and 
team, fifty cents ; two-wheeled carriage, thirty-seven and one- 
half cents ; man and horse, twelve and one-half cents ; person 
on foot, six and one-quarter cents. 

In 1806 the first Court-house, a brick structure, fift5'-two by 
ttiirtj'-eight feet in size, two stories high, was built on the pres- 
ent Court-house lot. The court-room was on the first floor, and 
the jurj- -rooms in the second story. In 1815 a cupola was built, 
in which a bell was hung in 1816. The building was removed 
about 1847, and that perfect piece of architecture, the "old 
Court-house," built on its site. 

In July of this year a Mr. Crane, from Lebanon, Ohio, endeav- 
ored to establish a newspaper here. After issuing a few numbers, 
he was attacked with fever and ague, and, in consequence of this 
illness, returned to Lebanon, and abandoned his project. No 
file of this paper has been preserved, and even its name has been 

In 1806 two brick stores, one story high, were erected on the 
northeast corner of First and Main by Mr. Cooper, and one, two 
stories high, on the northeast corner of Main and First by James 
Steele. The latter building stood till 1865 ; it gave place to 
Turner's Opera-house. Brown & Sutherland had a frame store 
on Main, near Monument Avenue, and H. G. Phillips a log 
store on the southwest corner of First and Jefferson streets. 
In 181 2 he built a brick store, with a handsome residence 
adjoining, on the southeast corner of ISIain and Second streets. 
The brick business houses of 1806 were very small, plain, and 
insignificant affairs, as those who remember the Steele store are 
aware. But Cooper's and Steele's stores drew business toward 
the center of town. 

James Steele was bom in Rockbridge County, Virginia, in 
1778, and brought to Kentucky by his father in 1788, He came 
to Dayton from Kentucky in 1805, and was in business till 1807 
with his brother-in-law, William McClure. From December, 
1807, till 1821 he was in partnership with his wife's brother, Joseph 
Peirce. Before he came to Dayton, his life was one of hardship 
and anxiety on a Kentucky farm, where he labored strenuously 
to support and educate his fatherless brothers and sisters. He 


earned the capital with which he began business here by making 
trips on a flatboat, laden with farm products, from Kentucky to 
New Orleans. Like his son, Robert W. Steele, he was interested 
in every effort to promote the prosperity of the town, and gave 
money, time, and labor to schools, libraries, churches, benevolent 
societies, and to all organizations formed to secure public im- 
provements. He was for many years a trustee of the old Daj'ton 
Academy, and was instrumental in securing the employment 
of E. E, Barney as principal. He was deeply interested in the 
second building erected by the First Presbyterian Church in 1S39 
(considered a model church), and gave to it largely of his means 
and personal attention. He died in 1841, just as it was finished. 
A friend described him as noted for unyielding integrity, candor, 
moderation, kindness, and benignity. 

For fourteen years ilr. Steele was associate judge of INIont- 
gomery County, elected by the Legislature, and for four years 
was a member of the Ohio Senate. "On the bench he was dis- 
tinguished for good sense, integrit}', and impartiality," wrote 
Judge Crane. "As a legislator, in a period of great public 
excitement, though firm and consistent in his political opinions, 
he won the esteem and respect of his opponents by his candor 
and moderation." In 1S24 he was one of the electors for Presi- 
dent and Vice-President of the United States for the State of 
Ohio. His old friend Henrv- Clav' was his candidate. From 1S15 
to 1822 he was a director in the Dayton Bank, and from the latter 
date till his sudden death, in 1S41, president. The stone bank 
built in 1815, converted into dwellings, still stands on Main 
Street, next to the High School. In June, 1837, the Muscatine 
Gazette said that the Dayton Bank was the only one in the L'nited 
States that had refused to respect President Jackson's Treasurj- 
order, and it was one of the three banks that continued to pa\' 
specie during that time of financial panic. But people preferred to 
take, and even hoarded, the notes of the bank. INIr. Steele ser\-ed 
m the War of 1S12. After the disgraceful surrender of General 
Hull, information was sent to Dayton that the Indians assembled 
near Piqua in council, emboldened by the success of the British, 
were dangerous, and threatening to attack the inhabitants. The 
news came on Saturday, and on Sunday morning at seven o'clock 
a company of seventy men, commanded by Captain James Steele, 
were ready to march to the front. The alarm proved groundless, 
and after a few days the company returned home, but Captain 

1805- i8o9 91 

Steele was retained in the service for some time bj' order of Gen- 
eral Harrison, to superintend the building of blockhouses at St. 
Mary's for the protection of the people of that region. 

In November, 1812, James Steele married Phebe, daughter of 
Isaac Peirce, who served as an ofBcer in the Revolutionary army, 
and was a member of the Ohio Company. Mr. Peirce came to 
Marietta, Ohio, from Rhode Island with his family in 1788, and 
was in 1789 one of the founders of Belpre. Mr. and Mrs. Steele 
had two sons — Robert Wilbur, born in 1819, died in 1S91 and 
Joseph Peirce, born in 1821, who entered into rest several years 
before the death of his idolized brother. 

Robert W. Steele married, first, Elizabeth Smith, and five 
children of this marriage survive — Mary D., Sarah S., and 
Agnes C. Steele, of Dayton ; Egbert T., of Spokane, Washing- 
ton, married Louise White; William C, of Rocky Ford, Colo- 
rado, married May Carter. R. W. Steele married, second, Clara 
P. Steele, who, with one daughter, Charlotte H. Steele, survives 
him, and lives in Da5-ton. He was for thirty-three 5'ears member 
of the Board of Education, and for twelve years president ; was 
one of the founders of the Dayton Library Association, and served 
for many j'ears as director and president. After it was united 
with the Public Library in i860, he was, excepting one or two 
3'ears, till his death in 1891 a member of the Librar}- Board. In 
1844 he was one of the incorporators of Cooper Seminarj', and a 
trustee till the school passed into private hands. He was nine 
5'ears a trustee of Miami University, appointed by the Governor 
of Ohio. From 1858 to 1891 he was president of Woodland 
Cemetery x4.ssociation ; was a member, appointed by the Gov- 
ernor, of the Ohio State Board of Charities for five j'ears ; was 
actively engaged all his life in promoting agricultural and horti- 
cultural societies ; was trustee of the Montgomery County 
Children's Home for nine years; was an elder in the Third 
Street Presbyterian Church for thirty-seven years, and a member 
of that church for fifty years. In the early history of railroads 
he was much interested in promoting those improvements, and 
was a subscriber to the stock of all the railroads, excepting 
three, entering Dayton. During the Rebellion he was active in 
promoting enlistments, and in aiding in providing for the com- 
fort of the soldiers and their families. He was appointed by the 
Governor of Ohio and served as a member of the Military Com- 
mittee of Montgomery County ; was a member of the Sanitary 


Commission, and Chairman of the Citizens' Committee to assist 
in raising the Ninety-third Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantrj'. 
He loved his native town with a personal love almost as strong 
and warm as that which he felt for relatives and individual 

The Daj'ton Academy was incorporated in 1S07 by James 
Welsh, Daniel C. Cooper, William McClure, David Reid, John 
Folkerth, George T. Tenner}-, Benjamin Van Cleve, and James 
Hanna. Mr. Hanna was an influential citizen in early daj-s. 
The family left Daj'ton man}' years ago. John Folkerth, one of 
the incorporators of the academj-, was also one of the incorpora- 
tors, in 1805, of the Librarj' Society. He was elected first Maj-or 
of Dayton under the charter of 1829. He was a man of sterling 
integrity, and a great reader of good books. He served in the 
War of 1812 as first sergeant in Captain Steele's companv. In 
the early history of the town the greater part of the deeds were 
drawn by him, and his legible but peculiar handwriting is 
familiar to manj'. His daughter, Mrs. William Atkin, and his 
granddaughter, Mrs. D. W. Iddings, are wideh- known in Daj-ton. 

Besides donations in nionej-, Mr. Cooper presented for the use 
of the academj' two lots on St. Clair Street, opposite Cooper 
Park, just north of Park Presbj'terian Church, on which, in iSoS, 
a two-story brick building was erected bj- subscription. He also 
gave a bell. In 1S07 and iSoS a debating-club met on winter 
evenings in the academv. 

This was the only boys' school in Dayton for many j-ears. The 
first teacher was William iSI Smith. He and his sons were 
prominent citizens. In his contract with the trustees he agreed 
to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, the classics, and the 
sciences. Teaching in elocution was also given prominence. In 
1815 IMr. Smith had for assistant' Rev. James B, Findlav, who 
afterwards became a distinguished Methodist preacher. About 
1S20 Mr. Smith was succeeded by Gideon I^IcMillan, a graduate 
of the University of Glasgow, who in his advertisements made 
claims to great scholarship. Succeeding teachers were Captain 
McMullin ; James H. Mitchell, a graduate of Yale, who after- 
wards followed the profession of civil engineer, and was a leading 
citizen for many years ; E. E. Barney, a graduate of Union Cof- 
legc, New York, and a remarkable teacher and man. IMr. Barney, 
by the introduction of the analytical method, exercised an impor- 
tant influence on our public schools. Teachers educated by him 

from a draiving bj Eugcno Wuiclii 


1805-1809 93 

carried these methods into the schools in advance of most places 
in the West, and gave them in their early histor}- a high reputa- 
tion. The year before Mr. Barne}' came, 1833, the old academy 
had been sold and a new one erected on the southwest corner of 
Fourth and Wilkinson streets. The trustees this j-ear were 
Aaron Baker, Job Haines, Obadiah B. Conover, James Steele, 
and John W. Van Cleve. In 1840 Collins Wight, long known as 
a dealer in lumber, taught in the academ}-. He was succeeded in 
1844 b3^ Milo G. Williams, a teacher of large experience and 
reputation, who remained till 1850, when the academy was 
deeded to the Board of Education. 

Among the earlj- settlers of Dayton were Henry Bacon, Luther 
Bruen, and Jonathan Harshman — very unlike, but, nevertheless, 
all t3'pical men. Mr. Bacon was a successful lawyer, and a man 
of unusual legal as well as literary acquirements. He served as 
prosecuting attorney-, and ably discharged the duties of the 
office. He was endowed with much force and keenness of intel- 
lect, and "waked up sometimes, in addressing a jury, especially 
as a prosecutor of criminal cases, to flashes of eloquence." Two 
grandsons of Henry Bacon are prominent in Dayton — General 
Samuel B. and J. McLain Smith. 

Luther Bruen was bom in New Jersey in 1783, and came to 
Dayton in 1804. He was an influential and useful citizen, and 
noted for benevolence as well as for business talent. He has a 
number of descendants — Frank, Robert, and Mary Bruen, Mrs. 
Sella Wright, David B., Quincy, and Thomas Corwin, Mrs. Susie 
Zeller, Mrs. Dr. Pauley, Mrs. Charles D. Mead, Miss Mary and 
Miss Martha and William Brad}-. 

Mr. Bruen was a practical abolitionist in times when to advo- 
cate antislavery principles required both moral and physical 
couracre and enlightened views. A number of the founders of 
our city came to Ohio before 1808 because they did not want to 
bring up their children in a slave State. But there was little 
active opposition to what the father of one of them called " that 
o-reat oppression" till 1832, when a respectable, industrious 
colored man, much liked bj' every one, a refugee from Kentucky 
who had lived here three 3'ears, was, in spite of protests and 
every effort for his legal protection on the part of the people, 
arrested by a party of slave catchers. The law delivered the 
neo'ro over to his master. A great deal of sympathy and indig- 
nation were excited by this iniquitous proceeding, and citizens 


oft'ered to buy liis freedom and prevent his separation from his 
freeborn wife. The master declined to sell, when his agents 
wrote to him, so valuable a servant, and came himself to take 
"Black Ben" to Kentuckj-. Arrived at Cincinnati, the captive 
was confined for the night in a fourth-stor3' room of a hotel. 
"All being safe, as they thought, about one o'clock, when thej^ 
were in a sound sleep, poor Ben threw himself from the window, 
which is upwards of fortj^ feet from the pavement." He was 
dreadfulty injured, but lived two daj-s. "A poor and humble 
being of an unfortunate and degraded race, the same feeling 
which animated the signers of the Declaration of Independence 
to pledge life, fortune, and honor for liberty determined him to 
be free or die. Mr. D. left this morning with the dead bod}- of 
his slave, to which he told me he would give decent burial in his 
own churchyard. Please tell Ben's wife of these circumstances." 
Strange to say, the words first quoted are from a letter which 
Ben's master requested a friend to write to the Dayton Journal. 
Poor Ben's capture and suicide were not forgotten in Da3'ton. 

Twenty-four people of color left Dayton on October 21, 1S24, 
for Haj'ti. Their expenses were paid by the Havtian govern- 
ment, which was inviting negro emigrants from the United 
States, and sent an agent to New York to take charge of the 
large numbers who were willing to go ; but citizens aiforded aid, 
and felt much sj-mpath}- for those who went from Daj'ton. The 
departure was a scene of the greatest excitement — wild weeping, 
wailing, and shouting, and lamentations over the separation for 
life from friends and home ; but nearly all who went from here 
soon found their way back again to Dayton. A colonization 
society was formed November 24, 1S26, and the following gentle- 
men were appointed a committee to solicit subscriptions to the 
constitution: Aaron Baker, Henry Stoddard, Luther Bruen, 
O. B. Conover, and S. S. Cleveland. 

In 1839 Luther Bruen was able to form an antislavery society, 
of which he was elected president. On South Main Street, west 
side, between Fourth and Fifth streets, a church known as the 
Union or Newlight Church, which was largely built with mone^- 
subscribed by INIr. Bruen, was erected. Here lectures bv famous 
antislavery leaders were frequently delivered. The meetings 
were frequentl\- interrupted and the speakers treated with vio- 
lence and indignity by angry proslaver\- crowds. In 1836 Dr. 
Birney and Rev. Mr. Rankin, who were invited to address au 

1S05-1809 95 

audience at the Union Church, barely escaped with their lives, 
and were hidden away for some hours, one at the residence of 
Dr. H. Jewett, a leading physician and active Abolitionist, and 
the other at the home of his relative, Dr. John Steele, who, 
though not an Abolitionist, believed in justice and free speech. 
The mob destroyed or injured the houses of Abolitionists and 
negroes, and tore to pieces the Bible, and broke the windows and 
stove at the church. Side by side in the Journal with the 
account of the organization of the antislavery society may be 
seen one of those coal-black little pictures representing a bare- 
headed colored man, carrj'ing a bundle hung on a stick, and with 
negro quarters in the background, making all speed for the free 
States, which so often at this date appeared in the Dayton news- 
papers. The poor fellow is described as "likely and pleasant 
when spoken to, easily alarmed, and calling himself Washing- 
ton, though that was not his name." 

Jonathan Harshman came to Montgomery County from Mary- 
land, at the age of twenty -four, in 1805, and purchased forty acres 
of land in what is now Madriver Township ; but he and his 
family are so identified with Dayton that his life is part of the 
history of the town. The first three j^ears after his arrival he 
spent in clearing his land, with the assistance of his neighbors, 
helping them in turn. In 1808 he married Susannah Rench, 
daughter of John Rench, an active and enterprising business 
man, who did much to promote the prosperity of the town. 
Among the latter's descendants are William H., Johanna, David 
C, and Charles Rench. 

Mrs. Jonathan Harshman was, like many of the pioneer women, 
of whom their grandchildren are so proud, a strong character, 
energetic, industrious, and capable in many directions. In the 
period now reached there were not only housekeeping, cooking, 
and sewing to attend to, but cows to milk, butter to churn, poultry 
to care for, the smokehouse to fill with hams, sausage, and pickled 
pork ; the vegetable garden to cultivate — iii town as well as in 
the country. All these things were the duties of a housekeeper, 
and to these multifarious labors spinning and weaving were 
added. The spinning-wheel and loom were found in most 
houses. Many yards of linsey-woolsej' were woven and made 
into summer clothes for children and grown people ; while wool 
was woven into blankets, dress goods, cloth, and flannels for 
winter wear by the mistress of a family and her daughters. The 


"help," if an}^ was employed, was some farmer's daughter, a 
friend or acquaintance, who was literally one of the family, 
though she received wages. Frequently the help was a bound 
girl, an orphan, whom the count}' was obliged to support, and 
whom the commissioners placed in a private family on condition 
that she should be free at eighteen and receive from her employers, 
on leaving them, a certain sum of mone}-, clothes, and speciiied 
articles of furniture. No wages were paid her, but she received 
for her work food, clothing, and lodging. 

In addition to his farming, Mr. Harshman engaged in milling 
and distilling, and opened with John Rench a store, trading for 
country produce, which the}' sent in fiatboats for sale to Cincin- 
nati or New Orleans. He accumulated a large fortune. In 1S45 
he was elected president of the Dayton Bank, and ser^-ed until 
1850. He was a member of the Twenty-fourth General Assembly 
of Ohio. In earlier 3'ears he was a stanch Federalist, and later 
an ardent Whig. In 1840 the famous Harrison convention was 
held in Daj'ton on the loth of September. General Harrison, on 
his journej' to Dayton, reached Jonathan Harshman's, five miles 
from town, on the evening of the 9th, and spent the night there. 
Early in the morning, his escort, which had been encamped at 
Fairview, marched to Mr. Harshman's residence, and halted till 
seven o'clock for breakfast, when it got in motion under com- 
mand of Joseph Barnett, of Dayton, and other marshals from 
Clark County. Mr. Harshman died in 1850, and his wife in 
1839. They had eight children. Elizabeth married Israel 
Huston, Catherine maixied Valentine Winters, Jonathan married 
Abigail Hiveling. These are all deceased, as are jMarj-, who 
became the wife of George Gorman, and Susannah, who married 
Daniel Beckel. Three sons — Joseph, George W., and Reuben — 

In the fall election of 1808 one hundred and ninety-six votes 
were cast at the Daj'ton Court-house. This year the first brick 
residence erected in town, a substantial, comfortable, two-storj' 
dwelling, was built by Henry Brown on the west side of INIain 
Street on the allej- between Second and Third streets. It was occu- 
pied till 1S63 as a dwelling, and from then till it was torn down 
as a newspaper oflice. Mr. Brown kept in his stable a cannon, 
which, not so much because it was taken down to the river bank 
by an excited crowd and fired oti the very rare occasions when 
there was anything to celebrate in Dayton, as on account of its 

1805- iSog 97 

imposing name, "Mad Anthony," ^Yas an object of awe and curi- 
ositj' to all the boys and girls in town. Mr. Brown was engaged 
in trade with the Indians, and had obtained this cannon from 
them in exchange for his merchandise. It had been abandoned 
in the w-oods bj- one of the regiments of the Western armj-. As 
it was the onlj' cannon in town for manj- j-ears, it was quite an 
important possession. Finallj' it burst, killing the patriotic 
gunner who was firing it. At one time a companj' of mounted 
rangers was formed in Dayton, and called for the cannon the INIad 
Anthony Troop. When Mr. Brown first brought it here, it used 
to be fired on the vacant lots on Main Street, opposite his house. 

Rev. James Welsh, M.D., and Dr. John Elliott, a retired army 
surgeon, both alread}- mentioned, were interesting characters of 
this period. Dr. Welsh was pastor of the First Presbj'terian 
Church from 1S04 to 1S17, and also practiced medicine and kept 
a drug-store. Notices to delinquent patients over his signature, 
like the following, frequentlj- appeared in the newspapers : "I 
must pav m}- debts. To do this is impracticable unless those 
who are indebted to me pay me what they owe. All such are 
once more, for the last time, called on to come forward and make 
pa3'ment before the 2sth of INIarch next, or, disagreeable as it is, 
compulsorv measures may be certainl}- expected." The death 
of Dr. Elliott, who died in 1809, was considered a great loss to the 
communit}-, as he was socially and professional!}- popular. The 
Repertory contained a eulogistic obituarj-, and not onlj^ citizens, 
but laro-e numbers from the countrj', attended his funeral. He 
was buried with martial honors, and Captain James Steele's 
troop of horse and Captain Paul Butler's company of infantry- 
headed the procession to the Sixth-Street cemeter}-. These two 
military organizations were probabl}' formed for defense against 
the Indians, at this date restive and threatening. 

Between 1S08 and 1810 Dayton began to grow and prosper. Two 
editors, a minister, a lawwer, a school-teacher, and three ph}-si- 
cians were numbered among the inhabitants, and there were five 
stores and three taverns, all doing well. A square or two on 
First Street, and the west side of IMain Street from Newcom's 
Tavern to the Court-house allej-, except the corner on which 
stood McCullum's Tavern, and the site of Reid's Inn, were 
occupied b}- residences, separated from each other by several 
vacant lots. The east side of ]Main Street was not built up, and 
was covered with hazel bushes and wild fruit-trees, except the 


lots from the High School alley to the southeast corner of Main 
and First streets, which were occupied by Grimes's Tavern and 
Cooper & Compton's and Steele & Peirce's stores. The first-named 
store fronted on First Street. Dwellings were built close to the 
pavement, with no ground between, but there were large yards 
at the side and back of the houses. Streets were not graveled, 
no care was taken of walks, and fences were of the stake-and- 
rider or post-and-rail order. 

Grimes's Tavern stood on the south corner of the first alley 
south of Monument Avenue. It was a one-storj--and-a-half log 
house, and in the alley back of it were a log barn and feed-3-ard. 
A few vears later, when it had ceased to be kept bj- its original 
owner, several frame additions and a large dining-room having 
been added, it became a popular place for parties and balls. 
Colonel John Grimes, the proprietor, was the father of Alexander 
Grimes, and the grandfather of Charles G. Grimes. Alexander 
Grimes was for many years (1S31-1843) cashier of the Dayton 
Bank, and also in 1819 a director. No one was more thoroughl5' 
identified with this bank than he. On the ist of January, 1S43, 
he, as agent, closed up the affairs of the bank. At an earh- dav 
he was in partnership with Steele and Peirce, under the name of 
Grimes & Conipan}-. In 1817 the firm was dissolved. IMr. 
Grimes married, first. Miss Gordon, and, second, Miss ^laria 
Greene, a member of a leading Daj'ton famil}'. In connection 
with Edward Davies, he was trustee of the estate of David 
Zeigler Cooper, heir of D. C. Cooper. The propert}* rapidly 
increased in value, and was also a great benefit to Dayton as a 
result of their prudent and liberal management. ]Mr. Grimes 
served in the War of 1S12. 

Reid's Inn stood on the west side of Main Street, between First 
and Second streets, the present site of the First Baptist Church. 
The proprietor earned his title by service in the War of 1S12. He 
was in command of the First Battalion of the First Regiment of 
Ohio ]\Iilitia. The inn parlor was a favorite place for public 
meetings, in which Colonel Reid was a leading spirit, and in the 
large barn}-ard for ^-ears the menageries and museums which 
visited the town annually always gave their exhibitions. The 
"Inn or House of Entertainment!" — as, to escape the tavern 
license of ten dollars, it was called. in the advertisement inserted 
in the newspaper — kept by Colonel Reid was a frame building- 
two stories high, with a belfry for the dinner-bell. On the large 

1S05-1S09 . 99 

sign. which, after the War of 1812, hung in a square frame from 
a tall post on the edge of the sidewalk, was painted a portrait 
of Commodore Lawrence, and a scroll bearing the words, "Don't 
give up the ship." The original small sign of the tavern, "Reid's 
Inn," hung below the larger one. Mr. Samuel Ferrer, who staid 
at the inn in 181S, when he spent some time here, not then 
having become a permanent resident, " enjoj'ing the hospitalities 
of the place, and the pleasures derived from the manly sports of 
those times," describes Colonel Reid as " a good man and excel- 
lent landlord." To Colonel Reid's ver}^ competent and energetic 
wife was, of course, due the bountiful, well-cooked meals and 
comfortable beds of Reid's Inn. 

On the iSth of September, 1808, William McClure and George 
Smith l;egan to edit and publish the second Da5'ton newspaper, 
the Repertory . It contained four pages of two columns each, was 
eight h\' twelve and one-half inches in size, and printed with 
old-fashioned tj-pe on a second-hand press. When five numbers 
had appeared, it was suspended till 1809, when Henry Disbrow 
and William McClure revived it as a twelve-bj'-twenty-inch sheet. 
It was published on Second Street, between INIain and Jefferson 
streets, till 1810, when it ceased to exist. It was principally 
filled with foreign news several months old, but some local items 
can be gleaned from the file in the Public Librarj'. Paul D. 
Butler advertises his " large and commodious house for sale ; will 
answer for almost any business ; good well and pump at the 
door, frame stable." Henry Disbrow offers a house and two 
lots, agreeing to take in payment "such produce as will suit the 
Orleans market," instead of cash, describing the property as 
' ' an elegant two-story frame house [ not all the houses were log 
at this date], fort3'-five feet front and twent5--four feet back; a 
good kitchen adjoining ; good well of water at the door ; good 
nail factory and stable ; situation good for either tavern or store ; 
post-and-rail fence." Advertisements are inserted by John 
Compton, H. G. Phillips, and Steele & Peirce, merchants ; John 
Dodson, carpenter ; John Hanna, weaving establishment, south 
end of Main Street; John Strain & Co., nail factory; James 
Beck, blue-d}'ing establishment ; David Steele, cooper-shop, First 
Street, near St. Clair; Thomas Nutt, tailor; Matthew Patton, 
cabinet-maker. The advertisement of Mr. Patton is found in 
every number of the paper, .showing that he had something of 
the modern enterprise in this respect. He served as first corporal 


in Captain Steele's compan3' in 1812. He lived to an old age in 
Dayton and was highlj' respected and esteemed. He was the 
father of Captain William Patton, and has several grandchildren. 
One of the earliest settlers and business men was Abram 
Darst, who came here from Virginia in 1805. "He was a man 
of sterling integrit)-, highly esteemed bj- the communit}', and 
occupied man}' positions of trust and usefulness. Mr. Darst 
died in 1865, aged eight3'-three. His wife lived to be ninetj'-five, 
dying in 18S2. She was a remarkable character, a typical pioneer 
woman, full of energy, and gifted with the facult}- of taking 
excellent care of a large household, and at the same time assist- 
ing her husband in his business, as was the almost universal 
custom in that day," Life here was verj- much what it is at the 
present day among educated people in man3- a far Western set- 
tlement, who have gone west to make their fortunes. American 
women, when there is need of special eifort, alwaj's prove that 
their sex in America has not degenerated during the past one 
hundred years. Man}' a lesson of cheerfulness, patience, indus- 
try, and thrift might be learned from the laborious, but contented, 
and, in the end, prosperous lives of the wives of the founders of 
Dayton. One of our wealthiest old merchants attributed his 
success largely to the assistance of his wife, brought up in a 
fashionable circle in an Eastern citj-. "WTiat was true of her was 
true of many others. When Robert Edgar was absent in the 
arm J' during the War of 1S12, his wife remained alone with her 
family in her lonelj' cabin, on the site of the Water Works, not 
onl}' doing all the work of her household herself, but takin<^ 
charge of the farm, so that when her husband returned things 
were not much less prosperous with them than when he left. But 
think of the burden of responsibility, labor, and anxiety- that 
Mrs. Edgar and other wives of soldiers of 1S12 bore in that dark 
era. Mr. and Mrs. Darst had ten children, of whom Miss Phebe 
and Mr. John W. Darst alone sur^-ive. Julia married James 
Perrine ; Christina, W. B. Dix ; jNIary, Jacob Wilt ; Sarah, W. C. 
Davis ; IMartha, George 1\I. Dixon; and Napoleon B., Susannah, 
daughter of Valentine Winters, so that Abram Darst has many 
descendants in Dayton. We can only mention A. D. Wilt, 
Charles W., Fred T,, Johnson P., Samuel B., and Rolla Darst, 
INIrs. Edward Fuller, INIrs. Joseph E. Bimm, j\riss Fanny and 
Miss Mary Dixon, Mrs. George W. Shaw, Mrs. E. E. Barnev, 
Miss Martha Pcrrinc, who are grandchildren. 




Wn.T.TAJT Eakek — George W. Smith — Koads — Journeys to the East — Goods 
Brought by Conestoga Wagons and Broadhorns to Ohio — Packhorses 
Moving Up Main Street — Groceries from Ne'w Orleans by Keel-Boats — A 
Voyage from New Orleans Described —Country Stores — Drinking Customs 

— Flatboating South— Excitement When the Fleets of Boats Left Dayton 

— Arrival of a Large Keel-Boat — Fourth of July from 1809 to 1840 — The 
First Drug-Store — Indians and Wild Animals Both Troublesome — Re- 
wards for Wolf-Scalps- New Sidewalks and Ditches or Gutters— OTiio 
Centinel — Earthquakes — William Huffman — Ohio Militia Encamped at 
Dayton — Business Beginning of 1812 — Horatio G. Phillips — J. D. Phillips 

— Obadlah B. ConoTer. 

No TWO Da}'tonians were ever more useful and prominent than 
William Eaker and George W. Smith. For a time the}' were in 
partnership. Mr. Eaker came here from Carlisle, Pennsjdvania, 
at a ver3' early day. He opened a store on Main Street in 
iSii, removing later to old Market or Second Street, where he 
continued in business till his death in 1848, making a large 
fortune. He was a stockholder and director in the first Dayton 
bank, founded in 1813, and remained a director till the bank 
ceased business in 1843. His store was very popular with cus- 
tomers, and he was indeed a general favorite in business and 
social circles, and noted for kind deeds. Probity, integrit}', and 
goodness of heart were traits of character continually manifested 
b}' him during the course of his long residence here, and gained 
him the esteem and confidence of all. He was a stanch friend 
to all }'oung men just entering business, as at the time of his 
death man}' prominent merchants and manufacturers were ready 
to testify. He was always a generous supporter of efforts to 
improve the town. He gave liberally to churches and charitable 
institutions. "At the outbreak of the Mexican War, he was 
one of the committee of citizens who pledged themselves to look 
after the families of volunteers, and to care for them in case the 
soldiers did not return. In everj- case these pledges were sacredly 
kept." In 1817 he married Letitia Lowry, who survived him 



thirty-four years. She was born in what is now a part of Spring- 
iield, Ohio, in 1799. Her father, Archibald Lowrj^, was the son 
of David Lowry, of Donnel's Creek, who came to the site of 
Dayton with the surveying party in 1795. He is mentioned in 
an earlier chapter as the first to send a flatboat south from Da3-- 
ton, in 1799. Mr. and Mrs. Eaker are represented in Dayton b}' 
their only daughter. Miss Belle Eaker. The three sons — Frank, 
Charles, and William Eaker — are deceased. 

George W. Smith, a native of England, came to Dayton from 
Virginia in 1804, and lived here till his death in 1841, at the 
age of fifty-seven. After dissolving partnership with Mr. Eaker, 
he was in business with Robert A. Edgar, and later with his 
son George. As he was a merchant, he was of course engaged 
in flatboating to the south. He built, near what is now known 
as Harries Station, extensive flouring-mills, a distiller}-, and 
houses for his workmen, calling the place Smithville. He was a 
man of wealth, and left a large estate. His first wife was a INIiss 
Todd. Their two children died j-oung. He married, second, 
Eliza Manning, and the}' had five children : James Manning, — 
lately deceased, leaving one daughter, l\Xiss Lida Smith, — married 
Miss Caroline Shoup ; George W. ; Sophia, married Isaac H. 
Kiersteid ; Louisa, married Captain Fletcher, U. S. A. ; Ann, 
deceased, married W. G. Sheelej'. 

Roads, narrow, muddy, or cut up into deep ruts, were now 
opened to Piqua, New Lexington, Salem, Greenville, Xenia, 
Germantown, Lebanon, Franklin, and !Mianiisburg. Two vears 
later a bridle-path was cut to ^'i^cennes, two hundred miles 
distant. The State Road, known as the "Old Corduroy Road," 
which ran east and west through town, was built the same 
5'ear. This was a road onlj- in name, being almost impassable 
in wet weather. Mud-holes and low places were filled with 
poles, which floated, and through which the horses' feet would 
sink. Travelers were delayed for hours bv such mishaps. In 1S12 
three roads used b}' the army were kept in tolerable condition. 
With this exception, till 1S39 roads were either so muddy or so 
rough that it was diflicult to drive or ride over them. Roads 
were poor even in nuire thickly settled regions. The journevs 
of our Dayton merchants to Philadelphia to buy goods, and of 
their wives to the old homes in the East, were made on horse- 
back, with clothes packed in saddlebags, and babies carried in a 
net swung around the father's neck, and resting on the pommel 

1S09-1S12 I03 

of his saddle. The bridgeless streams had to be forded. "Is 
he a good swimmer?" was a common question, when a man 
was tr^-ing to sell a horse to a customer. It was necessar}' to 
carry arms, as the road for miles passed through unsettled forests, 
along an unbroken track, marked only bj- blazed trees and where 
Indians and wild beasts lurked. Travelers usually camped for 
the night, and ate and slept on the ground. The journev east 
could be made from Cincinnati to Pittsburg in a flatboat, but 
public conveyances of anj- kind were unknown. 

Goods for Dayton merchants were brovight as far as Pittsburg 
from Philadelphia, then the center of trade, in Conestoga wagons, 
and from Pittsburg to Cincinnati by river in "broadhorns " ; 
thence they were either poled up the Miami, or brought here on 
packhorses. It was a common sight to see long line-teams, 
— often a dozen horses tied together, — in single file, the leader 
wearing a bell, and each horse carr3-ing two hundred pounds, 
moving up Main Street. A train of this length was accompanied 
by three or four men, equipped with rifle, ammunition, ax, and 
blankets. Game in the woods supplied them with food. !Men 
were stationed at each end, to take care of the leader and hind 
horse, keep the train in motion, and watch over the goods. Some- 
times the train was composed of loose horses, taught to follow 
each other without being fastened together. Bells were attached 
at night to all the horses, and then the}- were turned out to graze. 

Occasionall}' Daj-ton merchants purchased groceries brought 
up from Isew Orleans to Cincinnati in keel-boats or barges, and 
hauled here, about 1812, — when the arm}- kept the road in toler- 
able condition, — in wagons. 

The difficulties of an up-stream voyage are described in the 
following letter, written from Cincinnati, December 29, 1S12, bj- 
Bauna & Perry to Steele & Peirce, and found among the papers 
of the latter firm nearh- eight}' ^-ears after they received it : " We 
have just had the arrival of our barge from New Orleans. She 
was delayed at the falls for nearh" two weeks before she could 
get over, detained five or six days waiting for the loading to be 
hauled from the lower landing to the upper, and finalh" had to 
come away with part of her cargo only, there being no wagons 
to be had, and ever since she left that place has been obliged to 
force her way for two weeks past through the ice. These are the 
circumstances which prevented her coming sooner. Knowing 
that sugar is much wanting at j-our place, have thought it advis- 


able to load Mr. Enoch's wagon, and let it proceed to j-our town 
with that article, to wit, with six boxes, weighing as follows : 
438 pounds for ]\Ir. Henry Brown ; 448 pounds, Cooper & Bur- 
net ; 432 pounds, Isaac Spining ; 4S0 pounds, Robert Wilson ; 510 
pounds, Steele & Peirce ; 430 pounds, IMajor Churchill." Freight- 
age by wagon was one dollar per hundredweight. If a single 
box of sugar were taken, the price was twenty cents a pound, 
and eighteen and three-quarter cents per pound was charged if 
three boxes were bought. 

Dayton merchants kept genuine country stores, and sold a 
very miscellaneous variety of articles. In front, close to the 
street, hitching-posts and feed-boxes were provided. Bottles of 
various kinds of liquor, principally whisky,— regarded in those 
days, according to Curwen, as "the elixir and solace of life," 
even by ministers and their most conscientious parishioners,— 
were displayed, flanked by glasses, on the counter, customers 
kieing expected to help themselves. Purchases were usually 
paid for in wheat, rj-e, corn, beeswax, tallow, corn-fed pork, and 
similar products that would sell at New Orleans ; but cash was 
demanded if the grain, pork, etc., could not be deli%'ered in time 
for the annual spring trip south bj' flatboat. 

Flatboating south was a necessity', for there was no sale in 
Ohio for the articles received in exchange for goods by our mer- 
chants. The Great IMiami was down on the map as a navigable 
stream, and towards the close of the flatboating era, and later, 
there were man3' attempts to introduce steamboats. Until 1S28 
our merchants depended principalh' upon keel-boats, built some- 
what like canal-boats, and on flatboats for their connection with 
New Orleans, the only market for Western produce. Flatboat- 
men sold their boats — only used in descending streams, and kept 
in the channel by long, sweeping oars, fastened at both ends of the 
boat — when thej^ arrived at New Orleans, purchased a horse, and 
rode home. The boats were inclosed and roofed with boards. On 
account of changes or obstructions in the channel or low water, it 
sometimes took a Da3'ton boat three weeks to reach Cincinnati. 

May 24, 1809, the Rt'pfiioiy contains the first notice of a 
Dayton flatboat published here. It savs : "A flat -bottomed 
boat, owued by INIr. Compton, of this place, descended the Great 
Miami yesterday. She was loaded with pork, flour, bacon, and 
whisk}', and destined for Fort Adams." Later it is stated that 
" Mr. Compton's boat got safely through to the Ohio. Notwith- 

1S09-1812 105 

standing the representations made of the dangers of navigating 
the Great Miami, we are well convinced that nothing is wanting 
but care and attention to take our boats with safety from this 
place." Among the dangers encountered were dams and fish- 
baskets, or traps, which often wrecked the boats. Sometimes 
boatmen destroyed, or tried to destroy, these obstructions, the 
owners defending their property, and serious or fatal injuries 
resulting on both sides. 

Between 1809 and 1810 Paul Butler and Henry Disbrow estab- 
lished a freight line of keel-boats between Dayton, Laramie, and 
St. Mary's, connecting our town with Lake Erie by way of the 
Miami, Auglaize, and Maumee rivers. They built the two keel- 
boats used for this line in the middle of Main Street, in front of 
the Court-house. When finished, they were moved on rollers up 
Main Street to the river and launched. Nine iiatboats left on the 
13th or 14th of May, 1811, for New Orleans. A private letter 
dated Dayton, March 28, 1812, says : " We had a snowstorm on 
Sunday last, eight inches deep, but, as it went off immediateljf, it 
did not swell the river sufiiciently to let Phillips and Smith's 
boat out." It was customary for boats to wait for a freshet before 
starting. At the head of Wilkinson Street stood for many years 
Broadwell's old red warehouse, where shipments were made, and 
which was the scene in the spring of much hurry, bustle, and 
business. It was swept down stream itself in the flood of 1828. 
Boats built up the river used to come here, tie up, and wait for a 
freshet, when all the boats bound for New Orleans would set off 
together in a fleet. The departure of the fleet was an exciting 
event to farmers, distillers, millers, merchants, teamsters, boat- 
men, and the people generally, as the following description from 
the Dayton Watchman of May 26, 1825, indicates: "Rain had 
fallen on Wednesday, and continued till Friday, when the river 
rose. The people flocked to the banks, returning with cheerful 
countenances, saying, 'The boats will get off.' On Saturday all 
wasthebusy hum of a seaport ; wagons were conveying flour, pork, 
whisky, etc., to the different boats strung along the river. Sev- 
eral arrived during the day from the north. On Sunday morning 
others came down, the water began to fall, and the boats, carrying 
about forty thousand dollars' worth of the produce of the coun- 
try, got under way." In May, 1819, the Watchman announces, as 
a matter of public rejoicing, the arrival of a keel-boat from Cin- 
cinnati belonging to H. G. Phillips and Messrs. Smith & Eaker. 


It was the first keel-boat that had for a number of years, on ac- 
count of obstructions, ascended the Miami. The boat was over 
seventy feet long, and carried twelve tons of merchandise. 

The Fourth of July was a grand occasion in Dayton in the first 
quarter of the nineteenth century. A public meeting was held 
beforehand, at which a committee of arrangements was appointed. 
Benjamin Van Cleve, Owen Davis, and William ]M. Smith served 
in i8og. The militia and the people from town and country, 
forming on the river bank at the head of Main Street, marched 
in procession to the Court-house. Here they heard an oration 
and patriotic songs ; after which, reforming, the}- marched to the 
house of Henr\' Disbrow, where an elegant dinner was served, 
tickets costing fiftj- cents. Toasts were drunk and salutes were 
fired by the military companies, commanded bj^ Captain Butler 
and Captain Steele. The afternoon was spent in sports and 
games, ind there was a dance in the evening. In iSio there was 
also a procession from the river to the Court-house, where the 
following exercises were listened to : Singing of an ode, praj'er 
bjf Dr. Welsh, reading of the Declaration of Independence bj' 
Benjamin Van Cleve, and an oration b}- Joseph H. Crane. "The 
oration was eloquent and well adapted to the occasion." At 
noon there was a public dinner ser^'ed under a bower, where 
seventeen toasts were drunk, a salute being fired as each toast 
was given. 

In iSii Dr. N. Edwards, Joseph H. Crane, and Joseph Peirce 
were the committee of arrangements. The procession was 
preceded b}- a sermon from Dr. Welsh, and followed at the 
Court-house bj- the usual exercises, Joseph H, Crane reading the 
Declaration, and Benjamin \'an Cleve delivering the oration. 
This j-ear political animosity, hitherto unknown in Davton, 
had become so l)itter that members of the two parties declined 
to dine together, as had been the custom on the Fourth of 
Juljf, and unite in drinking toasts prepared by the committee 
of arrangements. There were two dinners, each under a bower 
prepared for the occasion ; one at INIr. Strain's and the other at 
Mr. (Traham's, fonnerly Newcom's. Each companv drank 
seventeen patriotic toasts, and then an eighteenth toast, express- 
ing their political opinions. Mr. Graham's guests drank to the 
accompaniment of a discharge of snmll arms the "Health of 
Thomas Jeflerson, Late Tresident of the United States." At 
INIr. Strain's the final toast was, " Jlay our young Americans 

1809- i8i 2 107 

have firmness enough to defend their rights without joining 
any Tammany club or society." And it was drunk "under a 
discharge of cannon and loud and repeated cheerings." There 
was the usual military parade in the afternoon and a dance in the 
evening. Military companies were popular and militia trainings 
gala occasions. Business was suspended and crowds flocked into 
town to witness the drill and parade, when, as on September 17, 
1810, Colonel Jerome Holt assembled the Fifth Regiment for 
training purposes. 

In 1815 the young ladies of Dayton were invited to join the 
Fourth-of-July procession, assembling at Colonel Grimes's tavern. 
After the speeches, etc., at the Court-house, the procession 
marched to Republican Spring, where ladies and gentlemen 
dined together, as had not been the custom before on the national 
holiday. In i8i5 the public meeting to make preparations for the 
Fourth of July was held at Reid's Inn. Dr. John Steele acted as 
chairman, and Benjamin Van Cleve as secretary, and Captain 
James Steele, Dr. Charles Este, George W. Smith, Fielding Gos- 
ney, James Lodge, Colonel John Anderson, and David Grifiin 
were appointed a committee of arrangements. After the proces- 
sion on the Fourth, Dr. Charles Este read the Declaration of 
Independence, and Benjamin Van Cleve Washington's farewell 
address. One hundred persons dined together at the house of 
Captain J. Rhea. Isaac Spining presided, and William George and 
Dr. Este were chosen vice-presidents of the occasion. Nineteen 
patriotic toasts were drunk with great hilarity. At four o'clock 
in the afternoon the ladies and gentlemen of the town and coun- 
try "partook of a magnificent repast, furnished by the ladies, in 
the shade of the adjacent woods." In the evening there was a 
concert of vocal music at Mr. Bomberger's residence and a ball at 
Colonel Reid's inn. 

In 1822 new features were introduced. Church bells were rung 
and cannons fired at daj'break and a flag run up on the town flag- 
staff. The exercises were held at the First Presbyterian Church. 
The procession was headed by the newly raised light infantry 
companies and riflemen. Captain Grimes's company wore a j'el- 
low roundabout coat, green collar and cuffs, white pantaloons, 
and red leggings. Captain Dodds's compan}' were dressed in 
white roundabout, trimmed with black cord, pantaloons the 
same, and a citizen's hat with red feather. Captain Dixon's 
riflemen wore blue cloth roundabouts, trimmed with white cord, 


and white pantaloons. Captain Windbrenner's men were dressed 
in gray cloth coatees, trimmed with black cord, and pantaloons 
to correspond. After the militia came four Revolutionarj- veter- 
ans — Colonel Robert Patterson, Simeon Broadwell, Richard 
Bacon, and Isaac Spining, guarding the American flag and lib- 
erty cap. Judge Crane read the Declaration, and Stephen Fales 
"delivered a highly interesting and animating oration." The 
music ' ' would have done honor to anj' place, and reflected great 
credit on the singers." The gentlemen dined at Mr. Squier's 
tavern, Judge Crane being elected president of the day, and 
Judge Steele and H. G. Phillips vice-presidents. After the reg- 
ular toasts, the following volunteer toasts were given : 33- Judge 
Crane, " De Witt Clinton, the Able and Persevering Supporter of 
Internal Improvements " ; bj- Judge Steele, ' ' The Contemplated 
Canal from the Waters of ]\Iad River to Those of the Ohio " ; by 
Stephen Fales, "The Memor3' of General Waj-ne, the Deliverer 
of Ohio"; bj' Colonel Stebbins, oiScer of the day, " The Presi- 
dent of the Day — a Descendant of a Revolutionary Ofiicer, one of 
the first settlers in this place, and who has borne the heat and 
burden of the day with us : as distinguished for his modesty as 
his worth, his is the popularity that follows, not that which is 
pursued " ; by Judge Spining, " IMay the cause that first inspired 
the heroes of '76 to shake ofl" the chains of slaverv be very dear, 
and supported by all true Americans"; b\- the four Revolution- 
ary veterans, "The Heroes of the Revolution, that fell to secure 
the blessings of this day to us : may their children so maintain 
them that America may be a republic of Christians on the last 
day of time." 

The first "jubilee of the United States," commemorating the 
fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, was 
celebrated July 4, 1S26, by a procession from the Court-house, 
services at the brick church, — First Presbyterian,— a dinner at 
Mr. Rollman's tavern, — formerly Newcom's,— and a picnic at the 
medical spring near the present buildings of St. jMary's Institute 
on Brown Street. The Declaration was read bv J W. Van Cleve, 
and an oration was delivered by Peter P. Lowe. In 1S32 Edward 
W. Davies read the Declaration, and Robert A. Thruston delivered 
an oration. Adam Houk was marshal of the procession, and 
G. C. Davis, Robert C. Schenck, Jefterson Patterson, Peter P. 
Lowe, and George Engle assistant marshals. The following 
gentlemen were the committee of arrangements : Thomas Clegg, 

Z M 

2 ^ 

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I g 

- Eh 

s- a 

I o 

1 5: 

1S09-1S12 109 

Charles G. Swain, David C. Baker, Charles R. Greene, George 
Grove, William Eaker, Peter Baer, Johnson V. Perrine, William 
Roth, John Engel, David Davis, Thomas Morrison, F. F. Carrell, 
Samuel Foley, and Thomas Brown. In 1840 the Declaration, 
" prefaced bj- some happy remarks," was read b}' John G. Lowe, 
and Peter Odlin was the orator of the day. The exercises were 
held at the Third Street Presbyterian Church. The Daj-ton Grab's 
and the Washington Artillery, a new military companj-, paraded. 

In April, 1S09, Dr. Wood opened, in Reid's Inn, the first drug- 
store established here, advertising in \.h.& Repeiioty "medicines 
in the small" for sale. The first political convention held in 
IMontgomerj' Countj' convened September 6 of this 5'ear at the 
Court-house, David Reid, moderator ; Benjamin Van Clave, clerk. 
Six hundred votes were cast at the election, and the following 
ticket was elected : State Legislature, Joseph H. Crane, Mont- 
gomery Count}', David Purviance, Preble County ; sheriff Jerome 
Holt ; coroner, David Squier ; commissioner, John Folkerth. 

Both Indians and wild animals were still troublesome in 1810, 
The Montgomery Countj' commissioners paid thirt}' dollars in 
reward for wolf-scalps this year, and twentj'-two dollars in 181 1. 
There were two thousand four hundred Indians in Ohio in 1810 ; 
five hundred and fifty-nine lived at Wapakoneta, and manj' were 
now encamped at Greenville. Dayton people were very anxious, 
for Tecumseh and his brother, "the Prophet," were uniting the 
Indians in the West and South in a league against the whites, 
which two years later was useful to the British. 

The town was slowly improving. The population in 1810 was 
three hundred and eight\'-three. This year the Select Council 
provided for new sidewalks along Monument Avenue, then 
Water Street, from Main to Mill Street ; on First, from Ludlow 
to St. Clair, except the south side of First, between Jefferson 
and St. Clair, and on Main, from Monument Avenue to Third 
Street. The ordinance directed the walks to be " laid with stones 
or brick, or to be completely graveled, and a ditch dug along the 
outer edge." People were forbidden, " except when it was abso- 
lutelj' necessarj'," to drive over the walks, and fines collected 
for infringing this law were to be appropriated for paving street- 
crossings. This ordinance caused general rejoicing, .both among 
townspeople and visitors from the country, as is stated in the 
Ohio Centinel, a weekly newspaper eleven bj' nine inches in 
size, — a four-column folio, — which, on the 26th of July, sue- 


ceeded the Repertory. Isaac G. Burnett, a man of talent and 
education, was the editor and publisher till 1813, when it was 
discontinued from want of patronage, most of the men being- 
away with the arm}', and the women too busy with farm and 
domestic work to have time for reading. It was a verj' good 
paper, and the editorials are still interesting reading to anj' one 
who cares for our early history. It contained the oflScial and 
legal announcements for the whole Northwest Territory, and 
had a large circulation as far as Detroit and Chicago. It was 
"Republican" in principle, but was far from being exclusively 
political. Its motto was, "With slight shades of difference, we 
have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles." 

In 181 1 a comet was visible, and there were severe shocks of 
earthquakes throughout the Ohio Valley- from 181 1 to 1812. It 
was at this date that New ^Madrid, on the Mississippi, was 
entirely destro3'ed hy earthquake. The superstitious were ter- 
riiied by these "signs and portents" in skj- and earth, regarding 
them as ominous of public or private misfortune. The Ohio Ceii- 
tiiiel gives graphic accounts of the shocks felt here on December 
16 and 17, 181 1 ; Januar}- 23 and 27, and Februar}- 13, 1812. 
While the alarming shocks were occurring at Dayton, the news- 
papers were filled with frightful descriptions of the catastrophe 
at New Madrid and startling earthquake news from other quar- 
ters, and it is no wonder that citizens read these reports with awe 
and dread, feeling that it was not improbable that a similar fate 
was in store for them. This 3"ear of disaster made a deep and 
never-forgotten impression. In ilUistration of the force of the 
earthquake on the i6th and 17th of December, when the earth 
was in a continual tremor, a pioneer grandmother used to relate 
an anecdote of a flightj- little woman, who, partly for the purpose 
of asserting her own courage, of which, in fact, she had not a 
particle, and partly from a spirit of mischief and desire to shock 
her awestruck friends, threw herself laughinglv on the gTOund, 
exclaiming: "How delightfully the world rocks! I like the 
motion." The poor, frightened lady probahlv thought it better 
philosoph}' to laugh than to cry ; but the village gossips consid- 
ered such conduct verj' vmbecoming, and proof positive that she 
was an atheist. 

The revenue of Montgomery County for 1S11-12 was »ii,74S.87 ; 
the expenditures, )f;q68.6o. 

In 1S12 William Huffman came to Dayton from New Jersey. 

I809-I8I2 III 

He was for many years successful!}^ engaged in lousiness as a 
merchant and speculator in real estate. His stone house, the 
first stone residence built in Dayton, and which, according to 
pioneer habits, was both dwelling and store, stood on Jefferson 
and Third streets, on the site of the Beckel House. He and his 
wife lived to be very aged. Their son, William P. Huffman, 
deceased, was an enterprising citizen, doing much to build up 
the town. There were four daughters : jNIary Ann, married 
Rev. David Winters ; Catharine, Morris Seely ; Eliza J., Alexan- 
der Simms ; Lydia A., first, William H. Merriam, second, John 
Harries. Grandchildren : William H. Simms, Mrs. Ziba Craw- 
ford, William, Frank, George, Torrence, and Annie Huffinan, 
Mrs. E. J. Barney, Mrs. J. R. Hedges, Mrs. C. F. Drury. 

In Januar}', 1812, the Government began to raise troops for'the 
war with Great Britain. While the Ohio militia were encamped 
in Da3'ton, the rendezvous for the troops, D. C. Cooper emploj'ed 
them to dig a mill-race. The army also brought work and busi- 
ness of other kinds to town. Early in 1812 Joseph Peirce wrote 
to his brother-in-law, James Steele, who had gone east to buy 
goods: "Business quite as good as could be expected. Gro- 
ceries, especially coffee, are scarce in town. I think eight or ten 
barrels would not be too much for us, if they can be purchased 
cheap. A good assortment of muslins to sell at twenty-five cents 
would be desirable, and if L. Pascson can furnish you with them as 
cheap for four months as for cash, I would purchase pretty largely. ' ' 
Soon after, he wrote to another relative that he had been so over- 
whelmed with business since the arrival of the troops that he had 
not had time to attend to his private correspondence. 

Horatio G. Phillips was one of the several merchants who laid 
the foundations of large fortunes in 1812. He was a native of 
New Jersey, and the son of Captain Jonathan and Mary Forman 
Phillips. He was born in 1783. His father was an officer in the 
Revolutionary army. In 1803 H. G. Phillips and a party of 
friends came west to seek a new home. At Cincinnati, on his 
return from a visit to Natchez, Mississippi, where he had had 
some thought of settling, he met D. C. Cooper, a New Jersey ac- 
quaintance, and at his invitation came to Daj^ton in the winter 
of 1804-05. At the close of the year 1805 he made the long, 
lonely journey on horseback, without a companion, to Phila- 
delphia. Having purchased goods in that city, he went to 
Lawrenceville, New Jersey, where, on April 10, 1806, he was mar- 


ried to Miss Eliza Smith Houston. The journey to Ohio was 
made on horseback to Pittsburg, thence by flatboat to Cincinnati, 
and from the latter place to Daj-ton in a wagon. Their home till 
1812 was a two-story log house on the southwest corner of First 
and Jefferson streets. His store was in his dwelling. In 1809 he 
took his wife and their infant daughter back to New Jerse3' on a 
visit to the old home. Thej' traveled on horseback, a lead-horse 
carr3-ing their baggage. J. N. C. Schenck, of Franklin, Charles 
Russell Greene, and other merchants, going east for goods, trav- 
eled with them, all the men of the party being armed with rifles, 
as roaming bands of Indians made the journej- through the 
woods dangerous. There were now occasional taverns, where a 
night could be spent in primitive st3-le. 

In 1812 Jlr. Phillips built a two-stor}- brick store and a resi- 
dence on the southeast corner of Main and Second streets. 
Daj'ton was at this period the thoroughfare of all regiments 
and wagons bound for the seat of war, and the arm 3- brought a 
great deal of trade to Mr. Phillips and other business men. 
Troops were always stationed here, and their purchases added 
largely to the profits of our merchants. In 1812-13 Mr. Houston, 
whom Mr. Phillips sent to Philadelphia to purchase goods, bought 
more largely than the latter intended, and fearing the stock could 
not all be disposed of here, he opened a store at Tro^-, with ;Mr. 
Plouston in charge. Fortunateh', the war created a demand for 
pork, whisky, flour, and grain, taken in exchange for merchan- 
dise, and he accumulated a large amount of these articles at 
Troy and Dayton, which he sold at good prices at those towns, 
or at the forts between New Lexington and Urbana, In 1S15 he 
opened a third store in Greenville, under the control of Easton 
Morris. He was activeh- engaged in business for man}- years, 
and retired in his old age. He was one of the founders of the 
first Dayton bank, and was interested in woolen mills at Hole's 
Creek. In 1S30, in partnership with Alexander Grimes and 
Moses Smith, he laid out the town of Alexandersville. In 1S4' 
or 1S44 he, with others, purchased from John Kneisley the 
water-power afterwards owned by the Dayton Hvdraulic Com- 
pany. His partners were Daniel Beckel, J. D. Phillips, and S. D. 
Edgar. He was an ardent advocate of the building of turnpikes. 
The Phillips House, built in 1S50, was named in his honor. In 
1831 Mrs. Phillips died. "By her death society lost one of its 
most hospitable and gifted members and the church a liberal 

1S09-1812 113 

g-iver and an earnest, unselfish worker." In 1836 Mr. Phillips 
married Mrs. C. P. Irwin, who survived him manj- years. By 
his first marriage he had three children who lived to grow up : 
Elizabeth, deceased, who married John G. Worthington, and with 
her son and daughter lived in Washington ; Jonathan Dickinson, 
born December 31, 1812, married Luciana Z. Greene, and died in 
1871, his wife dying in 18S1 ; Mariana lyouisa, born March 30, 1814, 
married, first, Robert A. Thruston, and, second, John G. Lowe. 

J. D. Phillips was a man of culture and taste, and very gener- 
ous and public-spirited. When he gave an3-thing to his native 
city, — and his gifts were large and frequent, — it was, if possible, 
beautiful as well as appropriate and useful. He was one of the 
founders of, and a verj- liberal contributor to, the Public Library, 
and the extent of his gifts in that and other directions was 
known only to a few intimate friends. He was a warm friend 
of the Public Librarj', and (about 1849) proposed to construct 
a room on the second floor of his new building especially' adapted 
to the use of the library, and lease it to the association on verj- 
favorable terms. The proposition was accepted, and a room forty 
by sixty feet, with lofty ceiling, supported through the center 
by Corinthian columns, was prepared. This room was elegantly 
furnished by special subscription, at a cost of over two thousand 
dollars. It is safe to say that at that day there was no librarj-- 
rooni in Ohio outside of Cincinnati that could compare with it 
in beaut;y and convenience. The room was finished in white and 
gold. A pair of handsome, large, revolving globes, in tall stands, 
and other ornamental and useful articles were, in addition to his 
contribution to the general fund, given b3^ Mr. Phillips. He was 
verv hospitable, and loved, for his own enjo3'ment as well as for 
the honor of the town, to entertain at his residence distinguished 
guests during their stay in Daj'ton. His elegant, large ball-room 
was the scene of many a brilliant reception. 

Mrs. John. G. Lowe has, through a long life, been noted for 
generosity and active interest in benevolent'and religious work, 
following the example of her mother, who was a leader in every 
undertaking for the benefit of the community. During the War 
of 1812 Mrs. Phillips took sick and wounded soldiers, who were 
brought here from the battlefield, into her own home, and nursed 
them till thej' were well, and was one of the band of ladies who 
constantly forwarded provisions and clothes to soldiers at the 
front. Her daughter, Mrs. Lowe, was one of the founders and 


hardest workers in the Dayton Sanitary Association, which met 
daily to cut out and make garments and pack boxes of food and 
comforts for our men serving in the army during the Civil War. 
jMrs. Lowe has seven children living : General Gates P. Thruston, 
Mrs. G. W. Houk, Mrs. Charles Newbold, Henry C. Lowe, 
Hou.ston Lowe, Mrs. Fowler Stoddard, Mrs. Thomas Gaddis. A 
son and daughter, Dickinson P. and Jeannette J. Thruston, died 
in early manhood and womanhood. 

J. D. Phillips had one son, Horace, — who married Miss Nannie 
Pease, and lives in Seattle, — and four daughters, Mrs. A. McD. 
McCook, deceased, Jlrs. J. P. Davies, Mrs. J. Harrison Hall, and 
jNIiss Sophia Phillips. 

In 1812 Obadiah B. Conover settled in Da3'ton. Mr. Conover, 
who came from New Jersey-, was for some years engaged in 
blacksmithing and the manufacture of wagons, plows, and other 
farming implements. About 1S20 he opened a store on the corner of :\Iain and Third streets, the propert}- still 
belonging to his descendants, though the pioneer building has 
given way to a modern business house. He was much inter- 
ested and very useful in city and educational affairs, and in 
church and in Sunday-school work. He married a daughter 
of John Miller, who came to Dayton in 1799. Some of the char- 
acteristics of the grandfather have been inherited b}- sons and 
grandsons, from whom schools, libraries, and other public 
matters have received intelligent and constant attention. ]Mr. 
and ]\Irs. Conover had five children, all, as well as their 
descendants, influential citizens. The sons, Han'ey, Wilbur, 
and Obadiah, were men of superior talent and liberal education, 
who made themselves felt, the first two in Dayton, and the third 
in Madison, Wisconsin. The sons, and one of the daughters, 
Martha, who married Collins Wight, a prominent business man, 
are deceased. The second daughter, Hannah, married Colonel 
Hiram Strong, who was a gallant oificer, and died in 1S63 from 
wounds received in the battle of Chickamauga. Obadiah B. Con- 
over has many grandchildren : Charles, Harvey, Lawrence, and 
Wilbur Conover, INIrs. W. A. Phelps, and I\Irs. Knnna Brown, 
children of Harvey Conover ; Frank Conover, Hugh D. Conover, 
deceased, and l\Irs. Mary C. Grundy, deceased, ehiklren of 
Wilb\u- Conover ; Harry C. Wight, deceased, and i\Irs. R. A. 
Rogers, children of i\[rs. Wight ; l\Irs. Hannah Frank and 
Mrs. W. B. Gebhart, daughters of IMrs. Strong. 



Dr. John Steele — IS12 and 1813 Years ol Excitement— Dread of Indians— 
Colonel Johnston's Control of the Indians — Madison Orders Out Ohio 
Jlilitia — Battalion Muster at Dayton — Militia Bivouac Without Tents at 
Cooper Park — Governor Meigs Arrives — Issues a Call to Citizens for 
Blankets — General Gano and General Cass Arrive — Three Regiments of 
Infantry Formed— Captain William Van Cleve — General Hull Arrives — 
Governor Meigs Surrenders Command to General Hull — The Governor 
and General Review the Troops — The Three Regiments March Across 
^lad River to Camp ]\leigs — Leave Camp ^Nleigs for Detroit — Munger's 
Brigade Ordered Here to Garrison the Town — Hull's Surrender — Conster- 
nation of the People — Handbills Issued at Dayton Calling for Volunteers 

— Captain Steele's Company — Kentucky Troops Arrive Here — Harrison 
Calls for Volunteers and Horses — Dayton Ladies Make One Thousand 
Eight Hundred Shirts for Soldiers — Expedition Against Indians Near 
Muncietown — Defeated Soldiers Bring Wounded to Dayton — Hospital on 
Court-House Corner — War — Jerome Holt— War Ended — Dayton Compa- 
nies Welcomed Home — First Dayton Bank — Ohio Centinel — Stone Jail 

— Mr. Forrer's Reminiscences of Dayton in 1814 — First Methodist Church — 
William Hanier — Aaron Baker — Ohio Hepuhlican — Ohio Wat<:hman — Medi- 
cal Societies — Dr. Job Haines — Female Charitable and Bible Society — First 
Market-House — Moral Society — Associated Bachelors — First Theater. 

In 1S12 Dr. John Steele settled in Dayton. He was born near 
Lexington, Kentucky, and was graduated from the famous Lex- 
ington college, Trans3dvania University, of which his father, 
Robert Steele, was one of the founders. From college he went 
to the Universitj' of Penns^dvania, at Philadelphia, in which 
the celebrated Dr. Benjamin Rusk was professor, to attend 
medical lectures.. Having received his diploma as a phj-sician, 
he decided to make his home at Dayton, where his brother James 
had lived for several years. Soon after his arrival a military 
hospital, a frame building, was erected on the northwest corner 
of Main and Third streets, — the Court-house lot, — for the use 
of sick and wounded soldiers of the War of 1812, Dayton, as 
already stated, being a depot of supplies and a rendezvous for 
troops. Dr. Steele was placed in charge as ph3-sician and sur- 
geon. During his residence in Dayton, while always ready to 



serve the public, he confined himself principallj' to the duties of 
his profession, in which he was verj- successful, and won a high 
reputation. Even to the present day manj' families remember 
his knowledge and skill as doctor and surgeon with gratitude, 
and speak of him with love and respect. He was remarkable for 
dry humor and wit, and his old patients recall and repeat his 
witty sayings with a relish heightened bj- the memory of the 
relief they brought amid the despondency and pain of the sick- 
room. Like his brother James, and like their grandfather and 
father before them, he was a very religious man, and long an 
elder in the Presln-terian Church. He was identified from its 
organization with the Third Street Presbj-terian Church, and 
" onl}' members of that church can know the respect and love in 
which he was held. ' ' He served as member and president of the 
Cit}' Council, was member and president of the Montgomerj' 
County JMedical Societ3-, a founder of and large contributor to 
the Library Association, an original stockholder in Woodland 
Cemeterj- Association, and prominently connected with all the 
benevolent and religious societies of his day. "With his name," 
writes a friend, "is associated all that is honorable, noble, and 
elevated in human nature." He was married twice, his first 
wife dying young. In 1S23 he married IMiss Cornelia King, of 
Morristown, New Jersey-, who survived him twenty-five 3-ears. 
The}' had ten children : Augusta ; Caroline, married W. F. 
Coml}-; Dr. Henr}- K., beloved in Dayton and Denver for the 
professional skill and delightful social qualities characteristic 
of his father, married IMary Frances Dunlev}- ; Clara, married 
R. W. Steele ; James, married Sally Curd ; Charlotte, married 
W. H. HaiTison ; Samuel, married Annie Mills; Cornelia, John, 
and William. jNIrs. R. W. Steele, Jlrs. W. H. Harrison, and 
Miss Cornelia Steele alone survive. Grandchildren : R. W. 
Steele, IMiss Harriet D. Steele, ilrs. William Spalding, children 
of Dr. Henry K. Steele: Charlotte II. Steele, daughter of INIrs. 
R. W. Steele ; Cornelia II. Steele, daughter of James Steele. 
Dr. John Steele died in 1S54, aged sixtv-three. 

The years 1S12 and 1S13 were full of excitement and dread in 
Dayton. Fear of the Indians, large mimbers of whom were 
friendly to Great Britain, rendered the war with that countrj- 
especially menacing to the people of Ohio. There were two 
thousand Indians — Shawnees, Ottawas, W>andots, Scnecas, 
Delawares, and INIunoies — in the State. Blockhouses were built 






iSi2-iSi6 117 

in ]Montgotnery County as a refuge for settlers of Preble, Darke, 
and Miami counties, who were considered in great danger. A 
hundred of them fled from their homes, and their flight increased 
the alarm of people in less exposed regions. Scouting parties 
of Miami County militia were constantlj' on dutj' north and 
west of Piqua. These companies were usuallj' ordered to kill 
ever}' Indian, and squaws and children were made prisoners. 
News was continually coming during the spring that men had 
been killed and scalped and found murdered in the woods ; that 
white inhabitants were flying before the savages in every direc- 
tion. On the loth of Ma}' it was reported here that an Indian 
trader bj' the name of Conner, who resided at Fort Defiance, 
liad been advised b}' friendly Indians to move in from the 
frontier, and also that the Prophet was rebuilding his town, and 
was as strong as ever ; that he was sevent}' miles from Greenville, 
and would reach that place in about six weeks. On the 14th of 
Ma}' six Indians and a squaw were captured near Troy, and on 
the 15th five or six whites, while planting corn near Greenville, 
were attacked by Indians and one of them wounded. Our people 
knew that if the Prophet took any of the neighboring towns it 
would not be many hours before he arrived at Dayton. Colonel 
Johnston, by order of Governor Meigs, was holding a council 
of Shawnee chiefs from Wapakoneta at Piqua, and great anxiety 
as to the result of this conference was felt. The Indians decided 
for peace, but though Colonel Johnston, who, from long employ- 
ment among them as a Government agent, understood them as 
few white men did, and had wonderful influence over them, 
believed their professions of friendship, the citizens of Ohio 
generally had no faith in their promises. 

All through the war Colonel Johnston acted as mediator and 
peacemaker between the tribes and the whites, especially endeav- 
oring to keep faith with the friendly Shawnees, and at the same 
time to defend Indians and citizens from each other. He pursued 
this noble course successfully, in spite of much opposition from 
his own people, by means of appeals through the newspapers, and 
various proclamations and stringent regulations. Soon after one 
of Colonel Johnston's appeals for a just and humane treatment of 
the Indians was printed, an article filled with abuse of him and 
the Shawnees was published in the 0/iw Centi7icl. It was claimed 
that while he was assuring the people that the Indians would not 
be troublesome in any way, he directed them to bring him the 


ears of all the swine they had killed. The settlers insisted that 
the order would not have been issued if there had been no ground 
for complaints against the savages. Colonel Johnston's onlj' 
object in publishing this order was to prove the innocence of his 
wards, if possible, or, if he failed in this, to provide some means 
of deciding what would be a full compensation for hogs that had 
been lost b}- their owners. The frontiersman could not, as a rule, 
believe an Indian less cruel and treacherous or more worthy of 
consideration than the wild beasts which he shot whenever he 
had an opportunity. Even the more intelligent and humane 
inhabitants of Ohio largely shared this distrust and contempt of 
Indians ; and Indians professedly friendh did many things which 
confirmed the evil opinion the whites had of them. 

President INIadison ordered out one thousand two hundred Ohio 
militia in April, 1S12, for one }-ear's service, and Governor }ileigs 
directed the major-generals of the Western and Middle divisions 
to report with their commands at Dayton on the 29th of the month. 
Major David Reid ordered the officers of the First Battalion, of 
which he was in command, to assemble for a battalion muster 
on the second Tuesdaj- in April, at the usual parade-ground in 
Dayton, armed and equipped as the law required. At this muster 
orders were read, and also the bill for enrolling volunteers, passed 
bj' Congress on the 20th of Februarv. On such occasions crowds 
of people gathered to enjoj' the parade, and it was supposed that 
the patriotism and enthusiasm of spectators would be roused on 
the 14th of April, and that many recruits would be obtained. "It 
was expected," the editor of the Ohio Centincl writes, "that a 
sufficient number would volunteer to obviate the necessity of a 
draft, but only twenty stepped forward at the call of their coun- 
try." The editor expresses his disappointment at this result in 
strong terms. Citizens had hardly had time as yet to realize that 
hostilities had really begun. The war excitement soon rose to 
fever-heat, and the Gv///;/;-/ never again reproved Davtonians for 
lack of patriotism. A company of Rangers was raised by Gen- 
eral JNIungcr at this date in this neighborhood, to be marched to 
Detroit. Governor l\Ieigs came to Dayton on the 20th of April 
to inspect them. The company was partly composed of drafted 

The uniform of the soldiers of 1812 was a blue coat, with 
scarlet collar and cuffs, and a cocked hat, with a cockade and 
white feather. The Governor appointed the 30th of April as a 

iSi2-iSi6 119 

day of fasting and pra^'er, and appropriate religious services 
were held at the Da^^ton Court-house. 

When, on May i, the first companies of militia reached Day- 
ton, though the Governor's order making this the rendezvous of 
troops had been published a month before, no arrangements had 
been made for their comfort. Till the middle of ^lay thej- had 
neither tents nor camp equipage, and very few blankets. A 
number bivouacked without shelter on the commons now Cooper 
Park. Twelve companies, containing eight hundred men, were 
here by May 7, and eight or ten more arrived in a few days. As 
the town could not aflbrd room for all these men, some camped a 
little south of Dayton. 

Governor Meigs arrived on the 6th of !May to give orders and 
inspect troops. The event was announced by the citizens by a 
salute of eighteen guns. He reviewed the militia in the after- 
noon, and the next daj- sent out an appeal from headquarters, 
^IcCuUum's Tavern, southwest corner of IMain and Second streets, 
to the citizens of Ohio, to men, mothers, sisters, and wives, for 
blankets for the soldiers. Each family was requested to "furnish 
one or more blankets," the appeal read, "and the requisite num- 
ber will be completed. It is not requested as a boon ; the moment 
vour blankets are delivered, you shall receive their full value in 
monev ; thev are not to be had at the stores. The season of the 
vear is approaching when each famih" may, without inconveni- 
ence, part with one." 

Soon after the Governor's arrival, he ordered General Munger 
and a small number of Dayton troops to make "a tour to Green- 
ville, to inquire into the situation of the frontier settlements." 
On ISIav 14 there were about one thousand four hundred troops 
here, the majority of whom were volunteers. Six or seven 
hundred of them were under the command of General Gano and 
General Cass. Six other companies arrived in a few days. Three 
reo-iments of infantry-, — the First, Second, and Third, — num- 
bering one thousand five hundred men, were formed on the 
2ist. These were the first regiments organized b}- the State of 
Ohio. After the companies were assigned to these regiments, and 
officers were elected, better military discipline was maintained 
than had been hitherto possible. The First Regiment encamped 
south of town, and the other two at Cooper Park. 

Ohio's quota of troops having now been raised. Captain Wil- 
liam Van Cleve's newlj- formed company of riflemen of this 


county was employed in guarding supply-trains on the road to 
St. Mary's. Captain William Van Clave, brother of Benjamin, 
was born near Monmouth, Xew Jersey, in 1777. He was one of 
the original settlers of Dayton. Instead of coming on the keel- 
boat or pirogue with his family, he accompanied the Newcom 
party through the woods for the purpose of driving the cow of 
his stepfather, Mr. Thompson. He was married twice, and by 
his first wife, EfSe Westfall, had several children. From the 
close of the war till his death in 182S, he kept a tavern at the 
junction of Warren and Jefferson streets. 

In the latter part of May General Hull arrived at McCullum's 
Tavern, which he made his headquarters. The usuallj- quiet 
village of Davton was now all animation and noise, as officers, 
quartermasters, and commissaries were preparing for the depart- 
ure of the regiments for Detroit. The broad and generallj' 
deserted streets, ungraveled, often knee-deep in mud, were alive 
with bustling citizens and countrj' people, gazing with curiosit}' 
at the brilliant uniforms and equipments of the passing sol- 
diers, and the stores were full of customers ; companies were 
drilling ; mounted officers and couriers galloping in different 
directions ; lines of wagons and packhorscs, laden with provi- 
sions and ammunition and camp equipage, coming in from 
Cincinnati or the neighboring places, and Montgomery County 
farmers and business men, even when thej- were enrolled among 
the volunteers, were many of them reaping a golden harvest. 
On the morning of the 25th General IMeigs and General Hull, to 
whom the Governor had surrendered the command, reviewed 
and made addresses to the soldiers camped south of town. After 
dinner at noon at McCullum's, they reviewed and addressed the 
regiments at Cooper Park. Earl}- the next morning the three 
regiments, with Hull and his staff at their head, crossing Mad 
River at a ford opposite the head of Webster Street, marched to 
a new camp, — which they called for Governor IMeigs, — situated 
on a prairie three miles from town, on the west bank of IMad 
River. They raised the American flag, and, forming a hollow 
square around it, greeted it with cheers, and expressed their 
determination not to surrender it except with their lives. 

On the ist of June the First, Second, and Third regiments of 
OliK) militia and a body of cavalry, followed by a wagon-train 
and a brigade of pack-mules, left Dayton for Detroit. The 
Governor and his staff and strangers from Cincinnati and Ken- 

i8i2-i8i6 121 

tucky, besides a crowd of people from the town and neighboring 
country, were collected to see the troops begin their march. 
The}' marched out the old Troj' pike. A large number of men 
followed them for a daj' or two, some of them sleeping in camp 
one night. General Hunger's command of militia was ordered 
here to garrison the town, protect stores and public property, 
and keep open a line of communication with the army at the 
front. This was service of importance, as quartermaster's ord- 
nance and commissary's supplies were forwarded by way of 

The news of the surrender of Hull's army reached Dayton at 
noon on Saturday, August 22, and this terrible disaster occa- 
sioned much alarm. A handbill was at once sent out into the 
country from the Centinel ofSce, containing the startling infor- 
mation just received, and urging every able-bodied man who 
could furnish a firelock to come to Dayton Sunday prepared to 
march immediately for the defense of the frontier, guard the 
public stores at Piqua, and watch the Indians in that region. So 
many poured into town, and so immediate was the response to 
the appeal, that the Centinel headed an editorial relating the 
occurrences of the next day or two, "Prompt Patriotism," and 
challenged ' ' the annals of our country to produce an example 
of greater promptitude or patriotism." Though the news came 
Saturday noon, a company of seventy men, commanded by 
Captain James Steele, was hy seven o'clock Sunday morning 
raised, organized, and completely equipped, and marched a little 
later in the morning to Piqua. All the men and women in 
town devoted themselves to the work of getting the soldiers 
read J', and few went to bed Saturdaj- night. Five companies of 
drafted men from I\Iontgomery and Warren counties arrived on 
Sunday. Mondajr and Tuesday troops were constantl}' departing 
and arriving. Two companies were left here at Camp Meigs. 
The Governor of Ohio, as soon as the bad news came, ordered 
forty thousand dollars' worth of puljlic stores to be removed 
from Pic[ua to Da3'ton, and General Hunger and his brigade soon 
accomplished this work. Captain Steele's company, no longer 
needed at Piqua, was ordered to St. Hary's, — the most advanced 
frontier post, — and the Captain was placed in command of the 
post. Joseph H. Crane was made sergeant-major. The Dayton 
company built blockhouses for the defense of St, Har3''s. The 
pay-roll of Captain Steele's company was preserved, and its 


publication in a Daj'ton paper many years later enabled widows 
and children of the men whose names appear on it to obtain land- 
warrants from the Government. This paj'-roU contained but 
fifty-two names, though seventy were enrolled on August 23, so 
that part of the men were probabh' engaged at this time in 
scouting or other duty. Perhaps some did not go farther than 

General Harrison spent the ist of September, 1812, in Da5'ton, 
and a salute of eighteen guns was fired in his honor. "While the 
citizens were receiving General Harrison in front of the Court- 
house, Brigadier-General Paj'ne arrived with three Kentucky 
regiments, comprising one thousand eight hundred men, and, 
marching past the Court-house, halted at Second Street. The 
soldiers were also honored with a salute. Earh- in September 
General Harrison sent out a call for volunteers, to be com- 
manded by himself, ordering them to "rendezvous at the town 
of Dayton on the Big Miami." He also issued a call for eight 
hundred horses provided with saddles and bridles, agreeing to 
pay fiity cents a day for them. The horses were to be received 
at Reid's Inn in Dayton. It is easy to imagine what a stirring 
place Da3'tou had now become. Some of the regiments which 
stopped overnight camped, we are told, "in the mud on Main 

The troops at the front were in great need of blankets and 
warm clothes. The following appeal was sent to the ladies of 
Dayton from headquarters, St. IMary's, September 20, 1S12: 

"General Harrison presents his compliments to the ladies of 
Davton and its vicinity, and solicits their assistance in making 
shirts for their brave defenders who compose his army, many 
of whom are almost destitute of that article — so necessary to 
their health and comfort. The material will be furnished bv the 
quartermaster, and the General confidently expects that this 
opportunity for the display of female patriotism and industry 
will be largely embraced by his fair country-women, 

" P. S. — Captain James Steele will deliver the articles for mak- 
ing the shirts on application." 

Captain Steele's company, which had volunteered for short 
service, was returning home when this letter was written. The 
material for the shirts was obtained from the Indian Department, 
and had been i)rcpured for annuities to tribes supposed to be 
friendly, but now in arms against the Government, and with- 
held in consequence of their present hostile attitude. ' ' With 

i8i2-i8i6 123 

a zeal and promptitude honorable to tliem and the State," 
and, of course, without compensation, the ladies of Dayton 
immediateljr went to work, and by October 14 one thousand 
eight hundred shirts were ready to send to the arm}' — a good 
deal of sewing to accomplish without the aid of a machine in 
less than four weeks b}- the women of a village of less than one 
hundred houses. 

On the nth of December seven hundred men of the Nineteenth 
United States Infantr}-, who had remained in Dayton for ten 
days to procure horses, left under command of Lieutenant- 
Colonel John B. Campbell on an expedition against the Miami 
villages near Muncietown. The Indians were routed, but eight 
of our men were killed and fortj'-eight wounded, and nearly 
half the horses were killed or lost. Late in the afternoon of the 
daj- of the battle the arm}- began its return march, carrying forty 
of the wounded, who were unable to ride, on stretchers. The 
men suffered all sorts of hardships, and nearlj' perished from 
cold, fatigue, and lack of food. On the 22d and 24th of Decem- 
ber jNIajor Adams, stationed at Greenville, and Colonel Jerome 
Holt, engaged in building blockhouses and protecting the 
frontier, came to their assistance and enabled them to continue 
their march. Thej' reached Daj-ton on Sundaj-, the 27th, after 
traveling ten da3-s. The Ccntinel says that "their solemn pro- 
cession into town, with the wounded extended on litters, excited 
emotions which the philanthropic bosom may easily conceive, 
but it is not in our power to describe them." 

The small military hospital on the Court-house corner, in 
charge of Dr. John Steele and assistant ph^-sicians, has already 
been mentioned. Some of Colonel Campbell's men were no 
doubt received at the hospital, but the soldiers were also taken 
into private houses, scarcely' a family receiving less than four 
or five. The usual Sunday services were omitted, and the ladies 
of Davton spent the day nursing the wounded and ministering 
to the needs of their worn-out comrades. Colonel Campbell's 
force marched to Franklinton in a few days, but those unable to 
accompany them were left here, and tenderly cared for hy citi- 
zens. The ladies of Dayton, though not formally organized into 
a soldiers' relief society, were continually engaged in making or 
collecting clothes and supplies for Montgomery Count}' volun- 
teers in the field or in the hospitals. Both private and public 
supplies, though mud rendered the roads almost impassable, were 


constantly forwarded by army agents from Dayton. Supplies 
purchased here were delivered to Colonel Robert Patterson, for- 
age-master at the Government storehouse, on the west side of 
Main Street, between Monument Avenue and First Street. 

Jerome Holt, mentioned above, was a brother-in-law of Benja- 
min Van Cleve, and came to Daj'ton in the summer of 1796. They 
had been partners in Cincinnati. After John Van Cleve had been 
killed by the Indians, he assisted Benjamin in his first efforts to 
provide for the family. His wife, Anne A'an Cleve, was born 
in Monmouth Countj-, New Jerse3', in 1775, and died in 1858 in 
Van Buren Township, where the Holts settled in 1797. He 
was appointed constable of Daj'ton Township in iSoo, and 
elected sheriff of Montgomerj' Countj- in 1809. From 1810 to 
1812 he was colonel of the Fifth Regiment of militia. Three 
great-granddaughters, named Gusten, live in Da3'ton, and a 
descendant — i\Irs. Lindsaj' — lives on the old Holt fann four 
miles north of Dayton. Jerome Holt died in "\Va5-ne Township 
in 1841, and was buried in Daj'ton with militarj' and Masonic 

A new company was formed here in Januarj', 1813, b}- Captain 
A. Edwards, and marched immediately. Captain Edwards, who 
was a Dayton phj'sician, had ser^-ed as a surgeon in the army 
in 1812. 

In the fall of 1813 Perry's victorj- on Lake Erie, Harrison's 
defeat of Proctor, and the repulse of the British at the battle of 
the Thames, brought the war in the West to a close. Returning 
Ohio and Kentucky soldiers were now constantl5' on the march 
from the north through Dayton, and the town was full of people 
from different parts of the country, who had come to m'eet 
relatives serving in the various companies. Sometimes the 
volunteers, camped in the mire on ;Main Street, became a little 
noisy and troublesome. The Dayton companies received an 
enthusiastic welcome home. Streets and houses were decorated, 
and a flag was kept flying from the pole erected on JIain Street. 
A cannon was also placed there, which was fired whenever a 
company or regiment arrived. The peo]ile, at the signal, gath- 
ered to welcome the soldiers, whom they were expecting, and 
for whom a dinner, on tables set out-of-doors, was prepared, and 
the rest of the day was given up to feasting, speech-making, 
and general rejoicing. Our Montgomery County companies had 
all returned by the ist of December : but as they had been in 

i8i2-i8i6 125 

constant and active duty since their departure for the front, a 
number of brave men had fallen on the battleiield, and others 
came home in enfeebled health, or suffering from wounds which 
shortened their lives, so that many in this neighborhood had as 
much cause for sorrow as for joy when the troops gaily marched 
into town. , 

It is impossible for the present generation to realize the horrors 
and sufferings occasioned by the War of 1812. King says, in his 
history of Ohio, that an eye-witness described the country as 
"depopulated of men, and the farmer women, weak and sicklj' 
as they often were, and surrounded by their helpless little chil- 
dren, were obliged, for want of bread, to till their fields, until 
frequently they fell exhausted and dying under the toil to which 
they were unequal." There is slight record of the trials and 
labors of the people of Daj'ton during this period, but they no 
doubt had their full share. 

The treaty of peace was not signed till 1815. When the news 
reached Dayton in February, the following article, headed 
"Peace," appeared in the Republican: "With hearts full of 
gratitude to the great Arbiter of nations, we announce this joy- 
ous intelligence to our readers. Every heart that feels but a 
single patriotic emotion will hail the return of peace, on terms 
which are certainly not dishonorable, as one of the most auspi- 
cious events we were ever called upon to celebrate. The citizens 
of Dayton have agreed to illuminate this evening. The people 
from the country are invited to come in and partake of the gen- 
eral joy." March 31 was appointed by the Governor of Ohio as 
a day of thanksgiving for the declaration of peace. 

The mechanics of Daj'ton met at four o'clock in the afternoon 
of Saturday, March 15, 1813, at McCullum's Tavern, to form a 
mechanics' society. This was the first workingmen's association 
organized in Dayton. Workingmen and mechanics, as well as 
merchants and manufacturers, were prospering at the close of the 
war, and able to buy themselves homes. There was much suc- 
cessful speculating in real estate, and business was on the top 
wave for the next six or seven years. 

The 5th of May of this year was set apart by the Governor of 
Ohio for a day of thanksgiving. In Ohio in early times thanks- 
giving was not always observed, and when the Governor issued 
a proclamation for the festival he was as likely to select Christ- 
mas or May-day as the last Thursday in November. The first 


proclamation of this kind in Ohio was issued by Governor St. 
Clair, December 25, 17S8. 

The first Daj-ton bank, called the " Daj-ton Manufacturing 
Companj'," was chartered in 1813. The following gentlemen 
constituted the first board of directors : H. G. Phillips, Joseph 
Peirce, John Compton, David Reid, William Eaker, Charles R. 
Greene, Isaac G. Burnet, Joseph H. Crane, D. C. Lindsa}-, John 
Ewing, Maddox Fisher, David GrifBn, John H. Williams, Benja- 
min \'an Cleve, George Grove, Fielding Gosney, and J. X. C. 
Schenck. Tlieamount of stock issued was§6i, 055. Thefirstloan 
was one of ;pi 1,120 to the United States Government to assist in 
carrj-ing on the war. Banking hours were from 10 a.m. to i p.m. 
The president received a salar}- of one hundred and fiftv dollars 
per annum, and the cashier four hundred dollars. H. G. Phillips 
was elected president in 1S14, but resigned in a few weeks, and 
was succeeded b}- Joseph Peirce. On the latter's death, in 1S21, 
Benjamin Van Cleve was elected ; but he died in two months, and 
was succeeded by George Newcoiu. In the following vear James 
Steele, who served till his death in !S4i, became president, and 
George S. Houston cashier. After 1S31 the bank was known as 
the "Dayton Bank." The bank closed up its affairs in 1S43. 

On the 19th of Ma}-, 1S13, the last number of the Ohio Ccntincl 
appeared, and for a j-ear and five months no newspaper was pub- 
lished in Daj'ton. As a consequence there is little material 
during this period for the history of the town. 

The contract for building a new jail was sold to James 
Thompson, July 27, iSii, at pulilic auction at the Court- 
house, for $2,147.91. The jail was eighteen by thirtv-two 
feet, and Iniilt of rubble-stone. A rented house was used for 
a jail till the new building was finislied. It was not com- 
pleted till December, 1813. The jail stood on Third Street 
in the rear of the Court-house, close to the pavement. It was 
two .stories high, with gable shingle roof running parallel with 
the street ; a hall ran through the center of the house from 
the Third Street entrance. The prison occupied the east half 
of the building and the sherifl^'s residence the west half There 
were three cells in each stor}-. Those in the second story were 
more comfortalile than the others, and were used for women and 
for persons imprisoned for minor offenses. One of the cells was 
for debtors, imprisonment for debt being still legal at that period. 
Often men imprisoned for debt were released by the coiirt on 

i8i2-i8i6 127 

"prison bounds " or "limits," upon their giving bond for double 
the amount of the debt. They were then permitted to live at 
home, support their families, and endeavor to paj' their indebted- 
ness, but were not allowed to go bej'ond the corporation limits. 
This jail was not considered a safe place of confinement for 
criminals, as persons on the sidewalk could look through the 
barred windows, which were about two feet square, into the lower 
front cell, and pass small articles between the bars. Though the 
cells were double-lined with heavy oak plank, driven full of 
nails, one night four prisoners escaped by cutting a hole in the 
floor, and tunneling under the wall and up through the sidewalk. 
About 1834 or 1835 a one-story building of heavj' cut stone was 
erected in the rear of the jail. It contained four cells with stone 
floors and arched brick ceilings. This was the county jail until 
the fall of 1845, when a stone jail was built at the corner of Main 
and Sixth streets, the present workhouse. 

l\Ir. Samuel Forrer, who visited Daj-ton in the fall of 1814, 
gives us, in his reminiscences, a glimpse of the town at that 
date • "At that early day there was a house and a well in an oak 
clearing on Main Street, near Fifth, surrounded by a hazel 
thicket. It was a noted halting-place for strangers traveling 
northward and eastward, in order to procure a drink of water and 
inquire the distance to Dayton." He describes the embryo city 
as still confined principally "to the bank of the Miami River 
between Ludlow and Mill streets, and the business — store-keep- 
ing, blacksmithing, milling, distilling, etc. — was concentrated 
about the head of Main Street." 

In 1814 the first Methodist church was completed and occupied. 
It was a one-story frame building thirtj' by forty feet in size, and 
stood on a lot contributed by D. C. Cooper, on the south side of 
Third Street and a little east of Main Street. Previous to the 
building of this "meeting-house" Methodist serviceshadbeenheld 
in the open air, the Presbyterian log cabin, or the Court-house. 
As early as 1797 a Methodist class had been formed by William 
Hamer, a local preacher, which met in his house three miles up 
Mad River. Rev. John Kobler, sent out by Bishop Asbur3r to 
organize the Miami Circuit, preached in Dayton, as already 
mentioned, in August, 1798, and Januar3^ 1799. In April of the 
latter year class-meetings began to be held in the village at 
the house of Aaron Baker. Bishop Asbury preached here on 
the 22d of September, 181 1, in the Court-house, to a thousand 


persons. Soon after, Rev. John Collins, who had preached here 
a few Sunda3's, persuaded the people to erect a church, and in a 
short time ^7.55 had been subscribed for a building fund. The 
frame church was succeeded by two brick buildings on its site 
—the first, built in 182S, fortj' b3' Hity feet in size and twenty- 
four feet in height, and the second, built in 1849, fift5'-five by 
eightj'-two feet in size, and with a tower in front. In 1870 the 
congregation removed to the stone structure — Grace Methodist 
Episcopal Church — on the southeast corner of Fourth and 
Ludlow streets. 

William Hamer, the first Methodist local preacher to hold ser\'- 
ices in this neighborhood, was one of the pioneers of 1796. He 
settled on a farm three miles up i\Iad River, and his place was 
known as " Hainer's Hill." His wife died in 1825. He died in 
1827, aged seventy-five. Their son Dayton, born at Hamer's 
Hill in 1796, was the first child born after the original settlers 
arrived at the mouth of Mad River. 

The name of Aaron Baker, the first Methodist class-leader in 
Dayton, often occurs in the earlj' history of the town. He was 
born in Essex Count}-, New Jersey, in 1773, visited Daj'ton in 
1804, 1805, and 1S06, and settled here with his family in 1807. 
He built McCullum's Tavern and the old brick Court-house. 

In December, 1814, Charles Zull began to work a ferry across 
the Miami at the kead of Ludlow Street. Farmers, leaving their 
horses and wagons hitched on the north side of the river, 
brought their produce over in the boat to trade at the stores. 

The 0/iw Republican appeared October 3, 1S14, published b}^ 
Isaac G. Burnet — who had published the Ccntincl, which it suc- 
ceeded — and James Lodge. It was similar in appearance to the 
Centinel, and printed from the type used for that paper ; price, 
two dollars per annum if paid in advance, two dollars and fift}- 
cents if paid within the year, and three dollars if paid ?t the end 
of the year. Under the title was printed the motto : "Willing to 
praise, but not afraid to blame." It was devoted principal! v to 
literature and foreign events, little attention being given in news- 
papers of that era to home news. ISIr. Huniet, who was elected 
to the Legislature a month after the paper first appeared, sold his 
interest to Mr. Lodge, who, as two-thirds of his subscribers did 
not pay for their paper, was obliged to cease publishing it Octo- 
ber 9, i8r6. In November of the same year Robert J. Skinner 
began to issue the Ohio Walchnian at the former office of the OJiio 

i8i2-i8i6 129 

Republican, having purchased the material and good-will of the 
latter paper. Its first motto was, "Truth, equalitj', and literary 
knowledge are the grand pillars of republican liberty-." For 
this was substituted in i8ig, "A free press is the palladium of 
liberty." It was originallj' a four-column folio paper, enlarged 
in 1818 to five columns, pages twelve by twent}' inches in size. 
The editor announced in 1816 that the paper should be genuinely 
Republican in principles, "that he was partial to the administra- 
tion then in power [James Madison was President], but that he 
did not intend to permit part}' prejudice to blind his eyes or to 
make his ears deaf to the principles of truth. The price was the 
same as that charged for the Republican. In 1820 the name of 
the paper was changed, and it was henceforth known as the Daj'- 
ton Watchman and Farmers' and Meckatiics' Jour^ial. It was 
now published by George S. Houston and R. J. Skinner, the lat- 
ter retiring in 1822. The oifice was on the west side of Main 
Street, between First and Second, a few doors south of David 
Reid's inn. The publishers offered to receive in pa3'ment for 
their paper flour, whisky, good hay, wood, wheat, rj-e, corn, oats, 
sugar, tallow, beeswax, honej', butter, chickens, eggs, wool, flax, 
feathers, country' linen, and cotton rags. In January, 1826, A. T. 
Ha3's and E. Lindsley purchased the paper, but it ceased to 
appear in November, 1826. From 1S24 it bore the motto, "De- 
mocracy', literature, agriculture, manufactories, and internal im- 
provements, the pillars of our independence." It was opposed 
to "mending" the Constitution, and in favor of the tariff of 1824. 
The three journals whose histories have just been given — really 
one paper under different names — -were published once a week. 

At an early date several medical societies were formed and met 
in Dayton, but in vain has an effort be^n made to trace their 
history. A call appeared in the Ohio Centinel for Jvily 24, 1814, 
over the signature of A. Coleman, of Troj', for a meeting of the 
Seventh District Medical Societ}-, to be held in Daj'ton at Major 
Reid's tavern, on the first Mondaj' in September. On the i6th 
of October, 1815, Dr. John Steele, secretar}' of the Board of 
Censors of the Seventh Medical District of Ohio, announced in 
the Republican a meeting of the board at Dayton on the first 
Monday in November. All the ph5'sicians who had begun prac- 
tice within the Seventh District since 1812, were requested to 
appear before the censors for examination. The penalty for 
neglect on the part of censors to attend this meeting was removal 


from office and election of others to fill their places. A number 
of physicians in the Seventh Medical District met at Dayton 
July 3, 1816, and formed the Dayton Medical Society, which was 
to meet here on the first Mondays of April, July, and November. 
Dr. John Steele was elected secretarj-. The Montgomery and 
Clark County Medical Society was organized Ma}- 25, 1824, at 
Reid's Inn. Dr. John Steele was president; Dr. Job Haines, 
secretary. Dr. William Blodgett is the onh- familiar Dayton 
name among the censors. At the annual meeting at Reid's Inn 
in 182S, Dr. William Blodgett was elected president, and Dr. 
Edwin Smith delegate to the medical convention. Among the 
members of the societj- were Doctors Job Haines, John Steele, and 
Hibberd Jewett. 

Dr. Job Haines, mentioned above, was born and educated in 
New Jersey. Ininiediateh- after receiving his diploma as a 
physician, he came to Ohio, settling in Daj-ton in 1817. He was 
"remarkable for sound judgment and practical wisdom, as well 
as for modesty and liumilitj'." He stood high in his profession 
and in the estimation of the communit}' in general ; was Mayor 
of the citj' in 1833, and held other municipal offices. He was for 
forty j-ears a member or elder in the First Presb3terian Church. 
The unobtrusive goodness, the quiet activit}- in benevolent 
work, of his dailj' life, — the fact that he was equally "a lover 
of truth, and a lover of peace, and a peacemaker," endeared 
him to all who knew him even slighth". Constant, j-ear in 
and 3'ear out, were his gratuitous professional calls on the sick, 
poor, and afflicted. Never a day, probabh', passed that he was 
not seen with a basket of nourishing food or dainties, wending 
his waj' to the bedside of one of these patients ; and having 
made them comfortable physically, the visit closed, if the patient 
desired it, with a few words of prayer and a brief reading of the 
Bible. But he did not obtrude his religious views on others. 
He died Jul}' 23, 1S60, aged sixt},-nine. 

The ladies of Dayton and the vicinity met at the house of 
Mrs. Henry Brown, on Main Street, next to the Court-house, at 
three o'clock on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 12, 1S15, to 
organize the Dayton Female Charitable and Bible Society. INIem- 
liers were each required to contribute one dollar per annum for 
the purpose of juirchasing Bibles, and to make a contribution of 
twenty-fn'e cents ever>- three months to the charitable fund. 
The society was organized fir the purpose of gratuitously 

i8i2-i8i6 131 

distributing the Bible and seeking the sick, the affticted, and 
need}', particularly of their own sex, relieving their wants and 
administering to their comfort and giving consolation to them 
in their distress, as far as was in their power. The following 
ladies were elected officers of the society: President, Mrs. Robert 
Patterson; vice-president, Mrs. Thomas Cottom ; corresponding 
secretary, Mrs. Dr. James Welsh ; recording secretary', Mrs. Joseph 
H. Crane ; treasurer, Mrs. Joseph Peirce ; managers, Mrs. William 
King, Mrs. David Reid, Mrs. James Hanna, Mrs. James Steele, 
and Mrs. Isaac Spining. This was the first societ}' of this kind 
organized in Daj^ton, though the ladies who formed it were 
previously and during the remainder of their lives noted for their 
benevolence and good works. A charity sermon for the benefit 
of the societ}' was preached by Rev. Joshua T. Wilson, of Cin- 
cinnati, in the Methodist meeting-house on Sundajr, June 25. A 
charity sermon was henceforth, as long as the Charitable Society 
existed, annually preached by Dayton ministers in turn. 

Robert Strain opened in May, 1815, in his large brick building 
on the corner of Main and Fourth streets, the site of the United 
Brethren Publishing House, a travelers' inn, which was long 
a favorite tavern. A millinerjr shop was opened on June 26 
by Ann Yamer on Main Street, south of Second. Besides 
attractive goods for ladies, she announced in the Republican a 
full stock of plumes and other decorations for military gentle- 
men, and that she was in need of a supply of goose-feathers. It 
will be seen that business was now advancing southward on 
Main Street. 

The first market-house was opened July 4, 1815. The markets 
were held from four to ten o'clock in the morning on Wednesdays 
and Saturdays. The house was a frame building, and stood on 
Second Street, between Main and Jefferson. On either side of 
the interior were butchers' stalls, and there were stands for 
farmers and gardeners on the outside, under the wide-extending 
eaves. Two long horse-racks, or rails, extended from the build- 
ing along Second or Market Street- — as the part of Second Street 
on which it stood was then called — nearly to Main Street. On 
April I, 1S16, an ordinance took effect which forbade the sale, 
within the corporation, on any other than market day, of butter, 
eggs, cheese, poultry, vegetables, fresh fish, or meat, with some 
exceptions as to meat and fish, which could be purchased every 
day before eight o'clock in the morning. Prices were low in 


1816 ; butter twelve and a half cents per pound ; eggs eiglit cents 
a dozen. Flour, however, was five dollars per barrel, and the 
next year six dollars. 

The Watchman says in July, 1822, when flour was two dollars 
and a half a barrel, butter five cents a pound, chickens fift}' cents 
a dozen, beef one to three cents per pound, and ham two to three 
cents per pound, that the Dayton price-list, published weeklj- in 
the newspaper, had been noticed in the Eastern papers under the 
head of "Cheap Living," and the low prices of marketing here 
attributed to the scarcitj' of money in the West. The Watchman 
assured the people on the Atlantic Coast that the great abundance 
of country produce of all kinds was the true reason that living was 
cheap in Ohio, and that monej' ' ' is quite as plent}' with us as 
notions in the Eastern States!" 

In spite of wretched roads and lack of forage, large numbers 
of cattle, horses, and hogs were driven, after the War of 1S12, 
from this neighborhood to the Eastern market. The Rev. Timothv 
Flint says, in his " Letters on Recollections of the Last Ten Years 
in the Mississippi Vallej-," that on his journe}- west in Novem- 
ber, 1815, he met a drove of one thousand cattle and hogs on the 
Alleghanj' jNIountains, which were "of an unnatural shagginess 
and roughness, like wolves, and the drovers from jNIad River were 
as untamed and wild in their looks as Crusoe's man Friday." 
These swine lived in the ilad River and ^Miami woods on beach- 
nuts and acoms, could successfulh' defend themselves and their 
joung against wolves, and when desired for food were shot like 
other wild animals. 

In 1S15 there were about one hundred dwellings in Davton, the 
majority of them log cabins. From 1S14 to 1S15 the revenue of 
the count}' was ;j;3,2So.5i, an increase in one vear of $1,431.64. 
The license for a store w-as fifteen dollars and the clerk's fee fift}' 
cents in 1S15. 

Two clubs or societies of men were formed in Juh' of this 
year — the IMonil Society and the Society of Associated Bach- 
elor.",. The object of the first organization, as its name would 
indicate, was to suppress vice and to promote order, morality, and 
religion, ami move particularly to countenance, support, and assist 
magistrates in the faithful discharge of their important duties, and 
in enforcing the laws against Sabhath-lu caking, profane swearing, 
and other unlawful practices. The society is careful to state in 
its constitution that it is not its intention to exercise a censorious 

i8i2-i8i6 133 

or inquisitorial authority over the private transactions or con- 
cerns of individuals. John Hanna was elected chairman ; George 
S. Houston, secretary ; managers, William King, Henry Robert- 
son, Matthew Patton, John Patterson, and Aaron Baker. The 
meetings of the JNIoral Society were held on the first Saturday in 
October, January, April, and Julj'. On the 12th of August, at 
two o'clock in the afternoon, the society assembled in the Meth- 
odist meeting-house to listen to a sermon from the Rev. Mr. 
Findla3^ The Society of Associated Bachelors was intended for 
recreation, and usually met in Strain's bar-room. George S. 
Houston, secretarj' of the Moral Society, was at the same time 
president of the Associated Bachelors, so that the character 
of the two organizations could not have been as antagonistic as 
one might suppose. On the 24th of September, to the great 
satisfaction of the Moral Society, Mr. Houston was married to 
"the amiable Miss Mary Forman." Joseph John, secretary of 
the Associated Bachelors, was soon after married to Miss Jane 
Waugh, of Washington Township. The Republican made merry 
over the fact that both the president and secretary of the Society 
of the Associated Bachelors were married. Their successors 
were immediately elected — Dr. John Steele president, and Alex- 
ander Grimes secretary. 

The grist-mill, and fulling-mill, and two carding-machines be- 
longing to Colonel Robert Patterson, two miles from town, were 
destroyed b3' fire on the 7th of October. This was a calamity to 
many poor families, as well as to the proprietor, as there was a 
quantity of cloth and wool belonging to customers in the mills. 
They were soon rebuilt. 

This j'ear D. C. Cooper was president and J. H. Crane recorder 
of the Select Council of Dayton. D. C. Cooper was elected State 
Senator, and George Grove and George Newcom Representatives 
in the Legislature. Aaron Baker, who had no opponent, was 
elected coroner. In 1815 Mrs. Dionicile Sullivan opened a school 
for girls, in which were taught reading, writing, sewing, letter- 
ing with the needle, and painting, — the first school of the kind 
in Dayton. 

Daniel C. Cooper was a member of the Legislature in i8i6, and 
also president of the Town Council. Joseph Peirce was recorder ; 
trustees, Aaron Baker, H. G. Phillips, Ralph Wilson, O. B. Con- 
over, and George Grove. On the evening of April 22, 1816, the 
first theater was held in Dayton at the dwelling of William Huff- 


man, on St. Clair Street. The much-admired, elegant corned}' 
called "Matrimony, or The Prisoners," and the celebrated comic 
farce called "The Village Lawyer, " were, the advertisement 
states, to be given, and between the play and the farce were to be 
presented two recitations, "Scolding Life Reclaimed" and 
" Monsieur Tonson," a fancy dance, and a comic song, " Bag of 
Nails." Tickets, fifty cents. Curtain to rise at half past seven 
precisely. Gentlemen were requested not to smoke cigars in the 



New Brlok Court-House of 1817— Ferries — First Bridges— Sabbath-School 
Association — Sunday-School Society — Game Abundant — Flights of Wild 
Pigeons — Migrations of Squirrels — Fish — Stage-Coaches — St. Thomas 
Episcopal Church — Christ Episcopal Church — Shows — Volunteer Fire De- 
partment, 182U to 1863 — Leading Citizens Active Members — Feuds Betweeu 
Rival Engine Companies — Financial Depression, 1820 to 1822 — Fever— 

— Lancasterian School — Francis Glass— (gridiron Newspaper — Miami Re- 
publican and Daytmi A.dveril'ier — George B. Holt — Consolidation of Watch- 
man and Republican — Dayton Joui-nal — Contribution to the Greek Cause^ 
James Perrine, First Insurance Agent — First Baptist Cliurch Built — Le1> 
ter from Dayton in 182T— Canal Agitation— Dinner and Reception to De 
AVitt Clinton — First Canal-Boat Arrives — Enthusiasm of the People — Ex- 
tension of Canal by Cooper Estate — Law Providing for Election of Mayor 
—Town Divided into Wards — Temperance Society — New Market-House 

— Rivalry Between Dayton and Cabintown — Private Schools — Manual- 
Training School — Seely's Basin — Peasley's Garden — Miniature Locomo- 
tive and Car Exhibited in Methodist Church — Daytonians Take Their 
First Railroad Ride — Seneca Indians Camp at Dayton — First Public 
Schools — School-Directors — Steele's Dam — General R. C. Schenek — Polit- 
leal Excitement — Council Cuts Down a Jackson Pole — Cholera in 1832 
and 1833 — Silk Manufactory — The Dayton Lyceum— Mechanics' Institute 

— Six Libraries in Dayton- Eighth of January Barbecue— Town Watch- 
men—Lafayette Commemorative Services. 

It became necessary, on account of the increase of county 
business, to build a new Court-house in i8i6. Finished in 1817, 
it was of brick, two stories high, fortj^-six feet front and twenty 
feet deep, and cost one thousand two hundred and forty-nine 
dollars. It stood on the corner of the Court-house lot. The 
WatchmaJi rented the upper story in 1818, "at fifty dollars per 
year and free publication of the annual report of the treasurer 
and election notices." For same time the second-story rooms 
were rented for lawyers' offices. 

In the spring of 1817 the advertisements of D. Stout, saddler, 
J. Stutsman, coppersmith, and Moses Hatfield, chairmaker, 
appeared for the first time in the Watchman. This year George 



Newcom was elected State Senator, and William George and 
George Grove members of the lower house ; D. C. Cooper, presi- 
dent of the Town Council ; W. ^Munger, recorder ; John Patterson, 
corporation treasurer. 

Until 18 1 7 Daytonians could onh' cross the rivers by fording 
or in a ferrj'. In December, 1S17, a bridge at Ta3-lor Street over 
Mad River, built by the countj- for one thousand four hundred 
dollars, was finished. It was a high, uncovered bridge, painted 
red. It fell into the river in 1S28, but was rebuilt at once. In 
Januarj', 1817, a stock company- was incorporated to build the 
red toll-bridge across the Miami at Bridge Street. The following 
gentlemen were the incorporators : Robert Patterson, Joseph 
Peirce, David Reid, H. G. Phillips, James Steele, George S. 
Houston, William George, and William King. It was not fin- 
ished till 1S19. The people were ver}- proud of this bridge, which 
the WatcIiDiati describes as " a useful and stately structure, . . . 
little inferior in strength and beaut}- to the best of the kind in 
the State, and renders the INIiami no longer an obstruction to the 
free intercourse with our neighbors on the other side. ' ' 

The Sabbath-School Association, the first organization of that 
kind in Dayton, was formed in March, 1S17, through the influ- 
ence of Rev. Backus Wilbur, pastor of the First Presbyterian 
Church — a verj- popular man, for whom a number of prominent 
citizens were named. He died in iSiS. The inscription on his 
monument at Woodland Cemetery was written by the celebrated 
Rev. Dr. Archibald Alexander, of Princeton. A long obituary- 
of Mr. Wilbur was published in the Watchman Februar}- iS, 
1S19. The Sabbath-School Association held its meetings in the 
new Presbj'terian church. An annual fee of twenty-five cents 
entitled any one to membershij). All denominations were repre- 
sented, and most of the children of the town seem to have been 
enrolled. The list of names preserved in the history of the First 
Presbyterian Church is ver}" interesting. Donors of five dollars 
or more became life-members. The society was managed by 
ladies, the oflicers consisting of a first and second directress, a 
secretary, treasurer, and five managers. The managers appointed 
the superintendent and the male and female teachers. The first 
board of managers consisted of the following ladies : INIrs. J. H. 
Crane, l\Irs. Ayres, JMrs. Dr. Haines, Mrs. Hannah George, and 
I\Irs. Joseph Peirce. Jlrs. Sarah Bomberger was the first 
superintendent, and held the position for nearly twelve years. 

1816-1835 137 

JMrs. George, mother of Mrs. Bomberger, was for several years 
secretary, and was very efficient. Mrs. Bomberger was the 
daughter of Judge George, a leading citizen, who came to Day- 
ton about 1805. In 1810 she married William Bomberger, who 
was county treasurer for fourteen years. Their children were 
George W., Ann, who married Peter P. Lowe, and William, who 
removed to Colorado and died there. In the spring of 1822 
Mrs. J. H. Crane, first directress of the Dayton Sabbath-School 
Association, reported that they had distributed one hundred and 
sixty-five books during the previous year, had one hundred and 
twelve tracts and five miniature histories of the Bible on hand, 
and $19.75 in the treasury. 

The Methodist Sunday-School Society was organized in July, 
1818. Their meetings were held in the academy building. 
Adults and children were taught to read, and instructed in the 
Bible and catechism. There were, of course, no public schools 
here at that date. 

D. C. Cooper and H. G. Phillips were the only persons in Day- 
ton owning carriages in 1817. 

The old Newcom Tavern was reopened in December by Blackall 
Stephens. The tavern was now called the "Sun Inn," and the 
swinging sign was decorated with a large picture of the sun. In 
an advertisement in the Watchman, with the sun flaming at its 
head, the house is described as ' ' pleasantlj' situated on the bank 
of the Miami River," and the advantages of the inn, its comforts, 
sufficient supply of bed-linen, furniture, and other necessaries 
are set forth at length. 

Game was nearly as abundant here at the date we have now 
reached as it was twenty years earlier. IMr. Samuel Forrer says 
in his reminiscences of Dayton in 1818 : " I remember that I killed 
three pheasants on the present site of Mr. Van Ausdal's house, 
in Dayton View. Quails, rabbits, etc., were found in plenty in 
'Buck Pasture,' immediately east of the canal basin, between 
First and Second streets. Wild ducks came in large flocks to the 
ponds within the present city limits, but the ponds have since 
been mainly wiped out by drainage; and the fox-hunters had a 
great time on occasion by visiting the ' Brush Prairie, ' within two 
miles of the Court-house. Deer, wild turkeys, and other game 
were killed in the neighborhood, and venison and wild meat 
were easily obtainable in Dayton." In 1821 Mr. H. G. Phillips 
frequently advertised a few coonskins for sale — used for caps. 


The Watchman in April, 1822, notices a squirrel-hunt in Mont- 
gomery County lasting a daj' and a half, in which one thousand 
squirrels were killed, and their scalps produced in evidence. 

Within the recollection of Robert W. Steele, as late as 1830 and 
1S40, game and fish were still abundant. An occasional deer 
could be found, and wild turkej's and pheasants were often shot 
by hunters. Squirrels and quails were thick in the woods and 
fields, and in the fall immense flights of wild pigeons alighted 
in the woods to feed on -the mast. At irregular inter^-als one of 
those strange migrations of squirrels would occur, for which no 
satisfactory cause has been given b}- naturalists. Starting from 
the remote Northwest, they would come in countless numbers, 
and nothing could turn them from their course. Rivers were no 
impediment to them, and bo3-s would stand on the shore of the 
]Mianii and kill them with clubs as the}- emerged from the water. 

The rivers were still full of fish. Xo more delicious table-fish 
could be found an5'where than the bass, when taken from the 
pure, clear water of the Miami and Mad rivers of that da^-. On 
the mill-race, which has since been converted into the Da3'ton 
View Hj'draulic, stood Steele's sawmill, which ran onK' in the 
daytime. At night the water was passed through a fish-basket, 
and each morning during the fish season it was found filled with 
bass of the largest size. In 1S35 one Saturday afternoon a seine 
was drawn in the iliami, Ijetween the ]\Iain Street and Bridge 
Street bridges, and two large wagon-loads of fine fish were caught. 
Whatever hardships the pioneers of Dayton ma}- have endured, 
they were in the enjoyment of luxuries that would have tickled 
the palate of an epicure. Fish-baskets, alluded to above, were 
usualh- made by building a dam on the rifiles, so as to concen- 
trate the water at the middle of the river, where an opening was 
made into a box constructed of slats, and placed at a lower le\-e:l 
than the dam. Into this box the fish ran, but were unable to 
return. A basket of this kind remained on the riffle at the foot 
of First Street as late as 1S30. 

Previous to iSiS people wishing to visit Cincinnati were obliged 
to travel by private conveyance. But in the summer of this year a 
l\Ir. Lyon drove a passenger-coach from Dayton to Cincinnati 
once a week, beginning his trips in Mav. On June 2 D. C. 
Cooper, of Dayton, and John H. Piatt, of Cincinnati, began run- 
ning a weekly mail-stage between the two towns, passing through 
Springdide, Hamilton, Jliddletown, and Franklin. Two davs 

i8i6-i83S 139 

and a night were required for tlie trip, tlie night being spent in 
Hamilton. The fare was eight cents a mile, with an allowance 
of fourteen pounds of baggage. John Crowder, a colored barber 
of Dayton, and his partner, Jacob Musgrave, also colored, drove 
a coach and four that carried twelve passengers to Cincinnati and 
return in 1820. Timothy Squier ran a stage to Cincinnati in 1822. 
Five o'clock in the morning was the hour of starting by coach. 
Worden Huffman owned the stage-line to Columbus, which con- 
nected at that place with a coach to Chillicothe. In June, 1825, 
stages commenced running twice a week between Columbus, 
Dayton, and Cincinnati. When this line was first established, it 
was thought by many that all interested in it were throwing 
their money away. It was not long, however, before it became 
necessary to increase the number of trips to two a week, and 
finally a daily stage was established. In 1827 we were connected 
with Lake Erie by triweekly coaches, the trip taking four days. 
Daily coaches were started June 25, connecting at Sandusky with 
steamers for Detroit and Buffalo, and at Mt. Vernon with a stage 
for Cleveland. The fare to Cincinnati was three dollars, six dol- 
lars to Columbus, and twelve dollars to the lake. Four hundred 
and ninety-seven passengers by stage passed through Dayton in 
1825. In 1828 there were stage-lines in everj' direction, twentj' 
coaches arriving here every week. 

In the era of ungraveled roads, when the coach went bumping 
over rough wagon-ruts, or splashing into deep mud-holes, or 
stuck fast in the mire, the journey to Cincinnati was a serious 
undertaking. It was ten or fifteen years later than 1825 before 
a short and pleasant trip could be made over an excellent turn- 
pike in an "Indian bow-spring coach," which was superior to 
all sorts in use. A guard accompanied each coach, and the 
drivers were well behaved, and understood their business. In 
1840 there were two daily lines of these coaches, owned by 
J. & P. Voorhees, one leaving at eight in the morning, and the 
other in the evening. 

In 1S18 George Grove and Judge George were elected members 
ol the Legislature, and Warren Hunger town recorder. George 
Newcom was elected State Senator in 1819, and Henr\' Stoddard 
and John Harries Representatives. The number of voters in 
Dayton in 1819 was seven hundred and sixty-five, and the 
number in Montgomery County two thousand seven hundred 
and eighty-five. 


In 1819 St. Thomas Church — the first Episcopal chvirch in 
Dayton — was organized by Bishop Chase with twenty-three 
members. In 1831 Christ Episcopal Church was organized by 
Rev. Ethan Allen, and in 1833 they built the first Episcopal 
house of worship erected in Dayton on South Jefferson, near 
Fifth Street. 

Shows in Dayton were few and far between at that period. In 
1819 an African lion was exhibited in the barnj-ard of Reid's Inn 
for four da3'S, from nine in the morning till five in the afternoon. 
Patrons were assured that thej' would be in no danger, as the 
lion, "the largest in America, and the only one of his sort," was 
secured in a strong cage. Twenty-five cents admittance was 
charged; children, half price. In April, 1820, "Columbus," a 
large elephant, was on exhibition in the carriage-house of Reid's 
Inn — admittance, thirtj'-seven and a half cents ; children, half 
price. In 1S23 the advertisement of a menagerie, containing an 
African lion, African leopard, cougar from Brazil, Shetland ponj' 
with rider, ichneumon, and several other animals, appeared in 
the newspaper. A band, composed of ancient Jewish cj'mbals 
and numerous modern instruments, accompanied the show. The 
show at Reid's Inn in 1S24 contained but one elephant. The first 
circus which appeared in Dayton exhibited in Reid's barnvard 
July 19, 20, and 25, 1825. No more circuses came till 1S29, when 
two exhibited, both on Jul}* 5 and 6. In August, 1S27, a travel- 
ing museum, consisting of birds, beasts, wax figures, paintings, 
etc., visited Daj'ton. One of the articles exhibited is advertised 
in a style worth}- of Barnum, as "that great natural curiosity, 
the Indian mumm}-, which was discovered and taken from the 
interior of a cave in Warren County, Kentucky, where it was 
probablj' secreted in its present state of preservation for one 
thousand years." These museums, carried in cars or vans drawn 
by horses, traveled all over the Western country in early times. 
When thej' reached a town or village, the horses were unhar- 
nessed, and the cars were fastened together so as to make a 
continuous room for the display of the curiosities. 

Cooper's IMills were burned on the 20th of June, 1S20. and four 
thousand bushels of wheat and two thousand pounds of wool 
destroyed. They were soon after rebuilt by H. G. Phillips and 
James Steele, executors of the Cooper estate. This was the first 
fire of any importance that occurred in Da\ton, and led to the or- 
ganization of the first fire-company. Council provided ladders. 

Ftuiu a iihotojrapli l-j Wolfo. 


1816-1835 141 

wiiich were hung on the outside wall of the market -house on 
Second Street, and also passed an ordinance requiring each 
householder to provide two long, black, leather buckets, with his 
name painted thereon in white letters, and keep them in some 
place easily accessible in case of an alarm of fire. Before this no 
public provision for putting out fires had been made. 

On the night of November 16, 1S24, George Grove's hat-store 
and the shop of Hollis, the watchmaker, were destroj-ed, the loss 
being about one thousand dollars. This fire, which was the first 
of any size which had occurred since 1820, created a good deal of 
excitement, as the corporation ladders were not in their place at 
the market-house, and the whole dependence for extinguishing 
the fire was on the leather buckets of citizens. An ordinance 
was passed threatening persons removing the public ladders from 
the market-house, except in case of fire, with a fine of ten dollars, 
and providing that a merchant who was going to Philadelphia in 
the spring of 1825 should be furnished with two hundred and 
twenty -six dollars and directed to purchase a fire-engine. 

On March 10, 1827, soon after the engine arrived, the first vol- 
unteer fire-companj' of Dayton was organized. George C. Davis 
was captain. At the same time a hook-and-ladder company, of 
which Joseph Hollingsworth was captain, was formed. John W. 
Van Cleve was appointed by Council chief engineer of the Fire 
Department. The following fire-wardens were appointed : James 
Steele, Abram Darst, Dr. Job Haines, and Matthew Patton. It 
was the duty of the wardens to periodically inspect the fire 
apparatus. A board of fire-guards was soon after appointed, 
whose duty it was to isolate and take charge of the neighborhood 
where the fire occurred while it was in progress and immediatelj' 
afterward. The church bells sounded the fire-alarm, and fifty 
cents were paid to each sexton when the fire happened after nine 
in the evening. The one who rang his bell first received a dollar. 
The engine was a small affair, filled with the leather buckets, and 
the water was thrown by turning a crank in its side. Not much 
care was taken of it, for at a fire that occurred in 183 1 it could not 
be used, as it was filled with ice, the water not having been taken 
out after a fire which had occurred several weeks before. A 
second engine was bought in 1833 and a third in 1834, by sub- 

In 1827 householders who had not themselves procured fire- 
buckets were provided with them by the town, the wardens 


distributing' them at the engine-house, a frame building on the 
Court-house lot near the Main Street alley. Council expended 
$112.50 on buckets, half of which were kept at the engine-house 
and the rest at private dwellings. Buckets kept b}- citizens were 
for twenty years inspected every April b}' the wardens. 

An alarm of fire brought out the whole population of the town, 
and the greatest excitement and confusion prevailed. Double 
lines were formed to the nearest pump, one line passing down 
the full buckets and the other returning the empty ones. "Women 
were often efficient workers in these lines. The water in a well 
would soon be exhausted, and a move had to be made to one more 
remote. It was hopeless to contend with a fire of anj- magnitude, 
and efforts in such cases were onlj- made to prevent the spreading 
of the flames. 

In 182S the following fire-wardens were appointed : James 
Steele, George W. Smith, Alexander Grimes, Matthew Patton, 
and Warren Munger ; engineer, John W. Van Cleve. In 1S33 
a compan)-, called the "Safety- Fire-Engine and Hose Com- 
panj'. No. 1," was formed and offered its ser^'ices to Council. To 
it was entrusted the new hand-engine, the "Safety," which had 
sviction-hose and galler^'-brakes, and five hundred feet of 
hose. The following were the first officers of the companj' : 
Foreman, James Perrine; assistant foreman, Valentine Winters ; 
secretan,-, J. D. Loomis ; treasurer, T. R. Black; leader of 
hose-company, Thomas Brown ; assistant leader, Henrv Diehl ; 
directors, William P. Huffman, Jacob Wilt, Peter Baer, Henrj' 
Biechler, and Abraham Overlease. Fire-cisterns were built this 
3-ear under the streets at First and INIain, Third and Main, and 
Fifth and INIain, and elsewhere. The cisterns were pumped full 
from neighboring wells, or filled by the engines, with hose, trom 
the river or canal. In 1834 Alexander Grimes, I. T. Marker, 
John Rencli, D. Stone, and others formed a company called the 
"Fire-Guards." They carried white wands, and it was their 
duty to protect property and keep order at fires. The following 
fire-wardens were appointed in 1S36 : First ward, ^latthew 
Patton and INloscs Simpson ; second ward, James Steele and 
Alirani Darst ; third, Musto Chambers and Samuel Shoup ; 
fourth, John Rencli and David Osborn ; fifth, A. Artz and 
William Hart. 

A fire occurred here in 1S39 which on account of bad manage- 
ment excited much indignation. According to the newspaper 

iSi6-i83S 143 

report, while the work of preservation was going on outside, an 
officious crowd, as was apt to be the case in those days, was 
playing havoc within doors. "In their eagerness to save the 
owners from loss by fire, they wrenched the doors from the hinges, 
pulled the mantels from their places, shattered the windows, and 
broke the sash." The next issue of the paper contained the 
following card from officers of fire-companies : 

" Each company claims for itself the right to control its engine, 
hose, and pipe, and any interference by an individual not a mem- 
ber of the association is calculated to create useless altercation 
and to retard the effective operation of the firemen. The brakes 
of our engines are always free to those who desire to render 
effective aid. All we ask is that those who are not connected 
with the Fire Department would either remain at a distance or 
work at the engines, believing, as we do, that the confusion 
created at fires is occasioned by those who are not connected with 
the engines. 

"E. W. Davies, President Second Engine Company. 

"E. Favorite:, Vice-President. 

"V. Winters, Foreman Safety Engine and Hose Company. 

"Frederic Boyer, Assistant. 

"E. Carroll Roe, President Enterprise Company." 

It was difficult to maintain order in a volunteer fire department 
even when Dayton was a village, but as it grew into a city and 
the rougher elements of society were largely represented, fires 
became scenes of wildest excitement and disorder. There was a 
constant rivalry between the different companies as to who should 
reach the conflagration first, as to which engine threw the first 
water, as to which officer or private member deserved most honor 
for heroic or long-continued service. This led to bitter feuds : 
the hose of an engine was sometimes cut by members or 
adherents of another company ; while striving for the most 
advantageous position or engaged in an altercation on other 
points, the men frequently came to blows and fought each other 
instead of the fire; stones were thrown, ladders, trumpets — any- 
thing that came handy was used as a weapon of assault or 
defense, and both firemen and spectators were often seriously 
injured. Going to a fire was like facing a mob, yet everybody' 
went, whatever hour of night or day the flames broke out : such 
unusual excitement was not to be missed by the men and women 
of our then quiet little town. Every boy and nearly every man 
in town forty or fifty years ago was almost as ardent a partisan 
of the Independent Fire-Company, the Vigilance, the Deluge, 


Oreg-on, etc. , as of tlie political party to whicli bj- inheritance or 
conviction lie belonged. But from 1856 there was, among the 
conservative class of citizens, a growing discontent with our 
unmanageable Fire Department. In 1863 the iirst steam-engine 
was purchased and our present splendidly equipped and perfectly 
ordered paid department inaugurated. 

The flush times during the War of 1812 were followed by a 
serious and general depression in business throughout the 
United States, and the growth of Dayton till 1827 was slight. 
Gold and silver were withdrawn from circulation to the great 
injury of business in this region, where good paper currencj^ 
was scarce. During 1S20, 1821, and 1S22, sales of all kinds were 
made by means of barter. Wolf-scalp certificates, called log- 
cabin currency, were taken instead of cash. There was some 
talk of returning to cut-money — dividing silver dollars into 
quarters, and Mexican quarters into three dimes. The Da5'ton 
Bank suspended specie pa3'nient several times during this period. 

H. G. Phillips was president of the Town Council, and G. S. 
Houston recorder, in 1820 ; Aaron Baker, Luther Bruen, David 
Henderson, William Huffman, and Dr. John Steele, trustees. A 
fever prevailed during the summer and fall of 182 1. There were 
seven hundred cases, and thirteen died. The population was one 
thousand. This j-ear the three ponds southwest of town were 
drained — the "first two into the tail-race, and the other into 
the outlet from Patterson's pond to the river." Matthew Patton 
was president of Council, and G. S. Houston recorder, in 1S21. 

August 21, 1S22, the Montgomerv Count}' Bible Society was 
organized at a meeting of which Joseph H. Crane was chairman, 
and G. S. Houston secretary-. Dr. Job Haines was elected 
president ; William King, Aaron Baker, and Rev. N. Worlej', 
vice-presidents; Luther Bruen, treasurer; James Steele, corre- 
sponding secretar}' ; George S. Houston, recording secretar}- ; 
managers, John Miller, John H.Williams, John Patterson, David 
Reid, James Hanna, O. B. Conover, Daniel Pierson, Robert Pat- 
terson, James Slaght, John B. Avers, Joseph Kennedy, Hezekiah 
Robinson, and Robert McConnel. This year was also formed the 
Dayton Foreign INIissionary Society. James Steele was elected 
treasurer, and Job Haines secretary. The membership fee was 
fifty cents a year, which could be paid in money, clothes, kitchen 
furniture, or groceries, to be sent to the Indians, of whom a 
number .still lived in Ohio. 

1816-1835 145 

In 1820 the Lancasterian or "mutual instruction" system of 
education was exciting great interest. Sharing in the general 
feeling in favor of the new method, the trustees of the Dayton 
Academy determined to introduce it in that institution. The 
trustees at that time were Joseph H. Crane, Aaron Baker, William 
M. Smith, George S. Houston, and David Lindsly. A house 
specially adapted to the purpose was built of brick on the north 
side of the academy, and consisted of a single room sixty-two 
feet long and thirty-two feet wide. The floor was of brick, and 
the house was heated by "convolving flues" underneath the 
floor. The walls were thickly hung with printed lesson-cards, 
before which the classes were marched to recite under monitors 
selected from their own number, as a reward for meritorious 
conduct and scholarship. For the youngest scholars a long, 
narrow desk, thickly covered with white sand, was provided, on 
which, with wooden pencils, they copied and learned the letters 
of the alphabet from cards hung up before them. 

The following are some of the rules adopted for the government 
of the school : 

' ' The moral and literary instruction of the pupils entered at 
the Dayton Lancasterian Academy will be studiously, diligently, 
and temperately attended to. 

"They will be taught to spell, and read deliberately and dis- 
tinctly, agreeably to the rules laid down in Walker's Dictionary ; 
and in order to do that correctly they will be made conversant 
with the first rules of grammar. The senior class will be re- 
quired to give a complete grammatical analysis of the words as 
they proceed. 

" They will be required to write with freedom all the different 
hands now in use on the latest and most approved plan of pro- 
portion and distance. 

"There will be no public examinations at particular seasons, 
in a Lancasterian school every day being an examination day, at 
which all who have leisure are invited to attend." 

In 1821 the trustees adopted the following resolution, which 
would hardly accord with the present ideas of the jurisdiction 
of boards of education, or the authority of teachers : 

''Resolved, That any scholar attending the Lancasterian School 

who may be found playing ball on the Sabbath, or resorting to 

the woods or commons on that day for sport, shall forfeit any 

badge of merit he may have obtained and twenty-five tickets ; 



and if the offense appears aggravated, shall be further degraded 
as the tutor shall think proper and necessarj- ; and that this 
resolution be read in school every Friday previous to the dis- 
missal of the scholars." 

Gideon McMillan, who claimed to be an expert, having taught 
in a Lancasterian school in Europe, was appointed the first prin- 
cipal. In 1822 he was succeeded bj' Captain John Mc]Mullin, 
who came with high recommendations from Lexington, Virginia. 

In 1823 there was a unique Fourth-of-Juh' celebration under 
the direction of Captain John McMullin, of the Lancasterian 
School. A procession, composed of the clergy of the town, the 
trustees, and two hundred scholars, marched from the school on 
St. Clair Street to the First Presbyterian Church, where the 
Declaration of Independence was read b3- Henrj- Bacon, and a 
sermon delivered by Rev. N. IM. Hinkle. It seems that Captain 
i\IcMullin had ser^-ed as a soldier, for the Watchviaii , in a notice 
of the celebration, sa3's : "Captain John McMullin appeared as 
much in the service of his country when inarching at the head 
of the Lancasterian School, as while formerlj' leading his com- 
panj' in battle." 

In 1823 Francis Glass, an interesting man and remarkable 
scholar, taught a boj's' school in Dayton. 

The Watchman, on the 3d of September, 1S22, contained the 
prospectus of the Gridiron, a weekly newspaper, edited and 
published bj- John Anderson, with the view of exposing and 
reforming people whose views of right and wrong differed from 
his own. The editor pledged his honor, liberty, and his life, if 
necessary, to the success of the Gridiron. The sheet was much 
dreaded by persons politically or otherwise obnoxious to the 
editor and contributors, and on it "evil-doers received a o-ood 
roasting." Its motto was, 

'• Burn, roast meat, burn, 

Boll with oily lat ; yc spits, forgot to turn." 

The subscription price was one dollar per jear, pa3'able one-half 
yearly in advance, and it was printed on what was described as 
good medium paper, in octavo form. Thomas Buchanan Read, 
then living in Dayton, with his reputation all to win, was one 
of the contributors. A bitter political contest was being wao-ed 
in Dayton at this period, and members of both parties, both in 
conversation and print, abused each other in a style that at the 
present day would have occasioned trial for slander. The Grid- 

1816-1835 147 

iron published tlie severest and most unjustifiable attacks on its 
opponents, or on unobtrusive citizens. Sometimes the broad 
burlesque or caricature of the articles excites a smile, but they 
are seldom even amusing. The writers are not restrained by 
truth, honor, or good taste, but indulge in wholesale abuse, 
which is unredeemed bj^ genuine wit or humor. It is no wonder 
that such a scurrilous paper had a short career. 

George B. Holt, better known now as Judge Holt, began to 
publish and edit, in 1823, a weekly Democratic paper, called the 
Miami Republicayi a?id Dayton Advertiser, which was continued 
till 1826. It was eleven by twenty-one inches in size. Judge 
Holt was a native of Connecticut, born in 1790, admitted to the 
bar of Litchfield in 1812, and came to Dayton in 1819. In 1828 
he was elected judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Mont- 
gomery County by the Legislature, serving till 1836 ; elected 
again in 1842, serving till 1849. He was a member of the Ohio 
Legislature in 1824 and 1827, "and was conspicuously connected 
with some of the most important early legislation of the State. ' ' 
In 1825 the first act establishing free schools was passed by the 
Legislature. Judge Holt was an earnest and active advocate of 
the measure, and to him was greatly due the passage of the act. 
In 1850 Judge Holt, who "had a high reputation as a lawyer, and 
was popular among all classes of the people," was elected a 
member of the convention called to adopt a new constitution for 
the State of Ohio. He was prominent in the convention, which 
many of the most noted men in the State attended. From this 
period till his death, in 1871, he took little part in political or 
professional life, though he was an ardent supporter of the Union 
in the War of the Rebellion. ' He was learned in his profession, 
and was a man of keen, strong intellect and literary tastes. He 
was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and highly esteemed 
as a citizen. He has three daughters — Miss Eliza and Miss 
Martha Holt and Mrs. Belle H. Burrowes — and several grand- 

In 1826 William Campbell, of Westmoreland County, Pennsyl- 
vania, purchased and consolidated the Dayto?i Watchman and the 
Miami Republican. The new paper was published weekly, and 
was called the Ohio National Journal and Montgomery County 
and Dayton Advertiser. After a few weeks it was sold to Jephtha 
Regans, who, in 1827, sold one-half interest to Peter P. Lowe, 
and they carried it on together till 1828. It was Whig in politics, 


and its motto was, "Principles and not men, where principles 
demand the sacrifice." It was thirteen by twenty inches in 
size, with five columns to the page. The paper was now called 
the Dayton Jotirnal and Advertiser. In 1828 J. W. Van Cleve 
purchased Mr. Lowe's interest. In 1830, Mr. Regans having died, 
Mr. Van Cleve entered into partnership with Richard N. Comlj^. 
In 1834 William F. Comly bought Mr. Van Cleve's share in the 
paper. Its size was increased to a seven-column folio, and it 
became the largest paper published in Ohio. An}' one examining 
the files of the Journal of this date in the Public Library cannot 
but feel a pride in the fact that early Da3-ton had a newspaper 
of such excellence, whether as to print, or editorials and contribu- 
tions. The owners' chief aim was to publish a paper of the'high- 
est character. R. N. Coml}' left Da3'ton many years ago, but 
William F. Comly is well known to the 5'ounger, as well as the 
older, generation of citizens. In his management of 'the. Journal 
he exhibited a breadth of view, generositj-, public spirit, and 
thorough disinterestedness of which onlj- the noblest class of 
men are capable. The Jouimal, without regard to the popularit}' 
or financial success of the editor, advocated every cit}' reform 
and improvement, and was a wonderful power for good. In so 
unobtrusive and matter-of-course a waj- was IMr. Conih-'s work 
for Dayton done that probablj' few are aware how greatly 
indebted the town is to him. In 1S40 the yb2^;7za/ was changed 
to a daily, then to a triweekl}'. Since 1S47 it has been published 
as both a weekly and dail}'. 

February 9, 1824, a meeting was held at Colonel Reid's inn to 
raise nionej- for the Greek cause. Simeon Broadwell was elected 
chairman. Dr. Job Haines secretary, and George S. Houston 
treasurer. One hundred and fifteen dollars were collected, and 
William M. Smith, George W. Smith, and Stephen Fales were 
appointed a committee to remit the money to the Greek Fund 
Committee of New York. 

This year John Comptou was president of the Town Council, 
and J. W. Van Cleve recorder. 

The revenue of the town for 1825 was one hundred and seventj-- 
two dollars. 

In June, 1826, James Perrine was appointed agent for the Pro- 
tection Insurance Company of Hartford, and was the first person 
engaged in that business in Dayton. Mr. Perrine was just begin- 
ning his long and honorable career as a merchant in Dayton. 

i r.,m a i.Lut^.Lrrui.b hj^D. 


1816-1835 149 

There were eight hundred and forty-eight voters in Dayton 
Township in 1827. The population within the corporation was 
one thousand six hundred. Dr. John Steele was president of 
the Town Council, and R. J. Skinner recorder. George B. Holt 
was elected State Senator this year, and Alexander Grimes and 
Robert Skinner Representatives. 

In 1827 the Baptist society, organized in 1824, built, on the 
alley on the west side of Main Street, between Monument 
Avenue and First Street, its first church, costing two thousand 

The following is an extract from an interesting letter written 
December 11, 1827, by a person living in Dayton to a friend in 
New Jersey : 

"I will now give you some account of our town. There are 
in it at present thirteen dr3'-goods stores, four public inns, seven- 
teen groceries, one wliolesale warehouse, two printing-offices, 
three wagon-maker shops, one carriage shop, four blacksmith 
shops, two sickle shops, one tinner shop, one coppersmith shop, 
three hatter shops, seven shoemaker shops, seven tailor shops, 
three tanyards, three saddler shops, three watchmaker shops, one 
brewery, one flour-mill with three run of stone, one sawmill 
with two saws, one fulling-mill, one set of carding-machines, 
and a cotton factory. There are six schools, — three with male, 
three with female, teachers, — one tallow-chandler, and two 
tobacconists. We have a market-house one hundred feet long, 
and it is well supplied. There have been brought to it during 
the last summer and fall twelve to sixteen beeves a week, and 
other mea<", poultry, and vegetables accordingly. The produc- 
tions of the country are much greater than can be consumed. 
The article of butter is very great. One merchant has taken in 
and sent to foreign markets thirty-two thousand six hundred 
pounds within one year. We have pork in the greatest of 
plenty. I was employed last year in taking in pork for Phillips 
& Perrine. We took in upwards of eighty thousand pounds at 
$1.50 per hundred. I started with it about the middle of Febru- 
ary, and took it to New Orleans. This is the second trip I have 
made down the long and crooked streams of the Ohio and Mis- 
sissippi. I shall commence taking in pork for Phillips & Perrine 
on Monday next, but I rather think I .shall not take it to New 
Orleans for them this time, unless they give me higher wages. 
I went for them the other trips for fifty dollars the trip, the 
distance by water being over one thousand five hundred miles. 
I was gone each trip nearly ten weeks." 

Thirty-six brick buildings and thirtj'-four of wood were erected 
in town during 1828. The population was one thousand six 
hundred and ninety-seven. Twenty stages arrived weekly. Dr. 


John Steele was president of the Town Council, and John \V. Van 
Cleve recorder. 

A meeting was called at Colonel Reid's inn on the evening of 
June 29, 1821, to appoint a committee to cooperate with com- 
mittees in other places to raise means to pay for a survey of the 
route for a canal from Mad River to the Ohio, and to ascertain 
the practicability and expense of such a canal. Judge Crane was 
chairman of this meeting, and G. S. Houston secretary. The 
following gentlemen were appointed to collect funds to paj- for 
the survey ; H. G. Phillips, G. \V. Smith, Dr. John Steele, 
Alexander Grimes, and J. H. Crane. The law authorizing the 
making of a canal from Da3-ton to Cincinnati passed the Legis- 
lature in 1825. 

On the 4th of Jul}-, 1S25, Governor De Witt Clinton, of New 
York, assisted at the inauguration of the Ohio Canal at Newark. 
At a public meeting of the citizens of Daj-ton, James Steele and 
Henry Bacon were appointed a committee to wait on the Gover- 
nor at Newark and invite him to partake of a public dinner in 
their town. Resolutions were also adopted and preparations 
made for his reception. jNIr. Steele returned from Newark on the 
evening of Wednesday-, the 6th, and reported that the Governor 
had accepted and would be here on Saturday. A number of 
gentlemen of Da}-ton and a detachment of the troop of horse 
commanded by Captain Squier met the Governor at Fairfield 
and escorted him to town. At 2 : 30 p.m. Governor Clinton and 
his suite, ^lessrs. Jones and Reed, Governor Morrow, Hon. Ethan 
A. Brown, Hon. Joseph \'ance, JNIessrs. Tappan and Williams, 
canal commissioners, and Judge Bates, civil engineer, arrived at 
Compton's Tavern, on the corner of Main and Second streets, 
where they were received by the citizens. Judge Crane made 
an address of welcome, which was responded to b^- Governor 
Clinton. About four o'clock the guests and citizens sat down to 
an elegant dinner prepared for the occasion at Reid's Inn. Judge 
Crcuie presided, and Judge Steele and Colonel Patterson acted as 
vice-presidents. The dinner closed with appropriate toasts. In 
the evening Judge Steele gave a reception to Governor Clinton 
at his residence, on the site of Music Hall. The house, which 
stood far back from IMain Street, as well as the yard, was bril- 
liantly illuminated. Governor Clinton addressed the people 
from the porch which ran along the JNIain Street side of the 
house. On account of his advocacy of canals. Governor Clinton 

i8i6-i83S 151 

had long been popular in Ohio, and many boys were named for 
him. His Dayton namesakes were presented to him at the 
reception, and to each of them he gave a silver dollar. Some 
of the recipients of these gifts preserved them as souvenirs as 
long as they lived, though a silver dollar must have bvirned the 
pocket of a boy of that period, with whom a coin or money of 
any kind or amount was a rare possession. 

It was suggested in October, 1S25, that it would be a good plan 
to run the canal, which need not be wider than forty feet, down 
the middle of Main Street, reducing the sidewalks to twelve 
feet, leaving a roadway thirty-four feet wide on either side of the 
water, and rendering Main the handsomest street in Ohio. This 
proposed course of the canal was for a few days marked out by 
a line of red flags the length of the street. It was feared that the 
canal would be located a mile from the Court-house, which would 
seriously injure the town ; and it was a great relief to citizens 
when the commissioners located it "on the common between the 
sawmill race and the seminarJ^ on St. Clair Street." The con- 
struction of the canal was at first ' ' violently opposed as a ruinous 
and useless expenditure" ; but as soon as the law authorizing 
the expenditure was passed, and before the canal was located, 
the rapid improvement of Dayton and the increase in population 
proved the wisdom and foresight of those who, since 1818, had 
been agitating the subject of canal improvements in the Miami 
Valley. One of the objections against the canal urged by oppo- 
nents of the project was that it could not be made to hold water. 
As the bed of the canal ran through loose gravel, there seemed 
to be force in the objection, and, indeed, some difiicultj^ of this 
kind was experienced. The bottom of the canal, however, soon 
"puddled," and became water-tight. 

The first canal-boat built in Dayton was launched near Fifth 
Street on Saturday, August 16, 1828, at 2 p.m. The citizens were 
invited to assemble at the firing of the cannon to witness the 
launch. The boat was called the Alpha, of Dayton, and was 
built for McMaken & Hilton by Solomon Eversull. The Alpha 
was pronounced by many superior to any boat on the line of the 
Miami Canal. As the water had not j'et been let into the canal, 
a temporary dam was built across the canal at the bluffs, and 
water was turned in from the sawmill tail-race at Fifth Street. 
Trial trips were then made from the dam to Fifth Street and 
back. The Dayton Guards, a military company of boys organ- 


ized a few weeks before, made the first trip on the Alpha. 
Friday evening, September 26, 182S, water was first let into the 
canal by the contractors from the mill-race at the corner of Fifth 
and Wyandotte streets. In January, 1S29, citizens of Dayton 
were gratified with the sight so long desired of the arrival of 
canal-boats from Cincinnati. Four arrived during the day, each 
welcomed bj' the firing of a cannon and enthusiastic cheers from 
the crowd assembled on the margin of the basin. 

The people made a festival of the completion of the canal, 
which, they congratulated themselves, had begun a new era of 
prosperity for the town, and took every opportunit3' to celebrate 
the event. There were several excursions, and on the evening 
of February 5, 1829, the canal being frozen over so that naviga- 
tion was impossible, Captain Archibald, of the Govcryior Bro-j.'n, 
which was embargoed bj- the ice at the basin, gave a handsome 
collation on board to a number of ladies and gentlemen. The 
next evening the captains of a number of boats Ij'ing in the 
basin partook of a canal supper at the National Hotel, and drank 
a number of toasts suitable to the occasion. On the i6th of 
April a steam canal-boat, called the Enterprise, arrived here. 
Two cords of wood were used in the passage from Cincinnati to 
Dayton. For man}- years it was believed that steam could be used 
in propelling boats on the canal, but after a fair trial it was found 
to be impracticable. Twentj- hours from Cincinnati to Dayton 
by canal was considered a rapid trip. Merchandise was brought 
here from New York b^' water in twenty da\"s 

The completion of the State canal, which ended at Second 
Street, was soon followed by the construction of a new basin, 
beginning at the terminus of the original one and extending to 
First Street. It was con.structed by the Basin Extension Com- 
pan}', formed hy H. G. Phillips and James Steele, executors of 
the Cooper estate, in 1S30. Its object was to draw business to 
the part of town through which it passed. This new basin ran 
down the ravine, fifteen or twenty feet deep, which extended from 
the head of ISIill Street to the corner of Piatt and Harris, thence to 
the corner of Second and St. Clair, and down St. Clair to Fifth. 
" Through this ravine the waters of ]Mad River, breaking through 
the culvert in the levee near its mouth in spite of the exertions 
of men working night and day to prevent it, sought, at almost 
every flood, a channel through which to discharge themselves 
into the IMiami below town. 

1816-1835 153 

Until the extension of the Miami Canal to the north in 1841, 
Dayton was at the head of navigation, and supplies of every 
kind for this region for a long distance around were forwarded 
from here. A brisk trade with Fort Waj^ne as a distributing 
point was kept up, and wagon-trains were constantly passing 
between the two points. Swaynie's Tavern, at the head of the 
basin, was the favorite resort of the wagoners, and his large 
stable-yard was nightly crowded with wagons, and his tavern 
with the drivers. 

In Januarj', 1829, there were one hundred and twenty-five 
brick buildings in Dayton, six of stone, and two hundred and 
thirty-nine of wood. There were two hundred and thirty-five 
dwelling-houses, and Presbyterian, Methodist, and Christian 
brick meeting-houses. This j-ear Timothy Squier opened the 
National Hotel in the building on Third Street adjoining the 
Beckel House. The white population of Dayton in 1829 was 
two thousand two hundred and seventy-two ; blacks, eighty-six. 
There had been an increase of six hundred and sixty-one in the 
population during the past fourteen' months. The amount of 
merchants' capital returned by the assessor of Montgomery 
County for 1829 was one hundred and twenty-nine thousand 
eight hundred and eleven dollars. Under a new law passed by 
the Legislature, the free white male freeholders over the age of 
twenty-one who resided in the corporation one year voted for a 
mayor instead of a president of Council, and one recorder and 
five trustees. John Folkerth was elected Maj'or, David Winters 
recorder, and Nathaniel Wilson, James Haight, John Rencli, 
Luther Bruen, and William Atkins, trustees. An ordinance 
was passed by Council dividing the town into five wards. The 
improvements of the town were nearly all confined to the tract 
bounded by the river on the north and, Mill and Canal 
streets on the east, and Sixth Street on the south. 

At a meeting held in 1S29 the first Dayton Temperance Society 
was formed. William King was moderator and Dr. Haines 
secretary of the meeting. The following persons were appointed 
to prepare a constitution and an address to the public : A. Baker, 
Daniel Ashton, D. Winters, D. L. Burnet, John Steele, Job 
Haines, H. Jewett, William M. Smith, and Henry Bacon. For 
some time the Dayton newspapers were full of arguments for 
and against temperance societies. 

On July 27, 1829, it was decided that the new market-house, 


which, the city was about to build, should be located in the alle3^ 
running from Jefferson Street to Main, between Third and Fourth 
streets. For the purpose of widening the market-space, propert}- 
costing one thousand one hundred and ninet}'-six dollars was 
purchased by Council. A small building was put up on Main 
Street, which was extended to Jefferson Street in 1836. All the 
space east of the market-house of 1S29 to Jefferson Street was 
given up to market-wagons. The old market-house on Second 
Street was abandoned April 24, 1830. A bitter rivalrj' existed 
between the parts of the town divided b5' Third Street. People 
living north of Third Street appropriated the name of "Dayton" 
to themselves, and in derision called that part of the town l3'ing 
south of that street "Cabintown." When it was proposed to 
remove the market from Second Street to the present location, 
violent opposition was made, and every measure resorted to to 
defeat it. Two tickets were nominated for cit5' oflScers, politics 
were forgotten, and this was made the sole issue. Cabintown 
proved numerically the stronger, and the fate of the market- 
house was sealed. When the market-house was moved, Thomas 
Morrison, who had it in charge, placed a large placard on it, 
"Bound for Cabintown," which was read with the deepest 
chagrin b}' the people on Market [now Second] Street. So 
bitter was the feeling that for a long time many persons refused 
to attend market at the new location. 

Numerous advertisements of schools taught in Da^-ton appear 
in the newspapers between 1S29 and 1S34. In 1S29 Edmund 
Harrison, a competent and successful teacher, taught what he 
called an "Inductive Academy" in a building which he erected 
for the purpose. He was followed bj' Ira Fenn. In 1S32 an 
accomplished woman. Miss IMaria Harrison, daughter of Edmund 
Harrison, taught a school for young ladies. In 1S31 J. J. S. 
Smith, afterwards an eminent member of the Dayton bar, — 
father of S. B. and J. McLain Smith,— taught a school in the 
stone building on l\Iain Street next to the High School. To 
illustrate how new ideas penetrated the West, it ma}- be stated 
that Dr. and INIrs. Foster, in 1S29, advertised a school to be con- 
ducted on the method of Pestalozzi. 

Advertisements of singing-schools and writing-schools appear 
frequently. The flaming advertisement of D. Easton, teacher of 
penmanship, recalls the da>- liefore the invention of steel pens, 
when no small part of the time of the teacher was spent in 

1816-1S35 155 

making and mending quill pens. He offers to teacli "the round 
running hand, the ornamental Italian hand, the waving hand, 
the swift, angular running hand without ruling, and various 
others, both plain and ornamental." 

In 1833 David Pruden invited Milo G. Williams to come to 
Dayton to take charge of a manual-labor school to be established 
in a large brick building owned by him at the junction of Jeffer- 
son and Warren streets. Shops were erected for instruction in 
various mechanical trades. Mr. Williams was to conduct the 
academic, and Mr. Pruden the labor and boarding, department. 
A large number of boj's from Cincinnati and other places were 
attracted to the school by Mr. Williams's reputation as a teacher, 
and the school for a time enjoyed great popularity. Both the 
principals were actviated by philanthropic motives in their 
attempt to combine intellectual culture with preparation for 
the practical duties of life ; but they were at least fifty 5'ears 
ahead of their times, and the school was closed from lack of 
pecuniary success. 

In 1830 a company was formed to construct a basin connecting 
the canal at its intersection with Wayne Street and a point at the 
southern extremity of the city. Morris Seely was the main 
mover in this project, and great expectations were entertained in 
regard to it. The Supreme Court had decided that the water- 
power within the city limits, and furnished by the canal, belonged 
to the State of Ohio, a decision which was afterwards reversed, 
and the water-power given to the Cooper estate. It was believed 
that this water-power could be leased and utilized along the pro- 
posed basin. Land was bought at what was then an extravagant 
price, and lots laid out. These lots were small in size, and 
arranged for factories, warehouses, and docks, such as would be 
required in a large city, but were unsuited to a place with the 
pretensions of Dayton. The scheme proved an utter failure, and 
left consequences that were an annoyance to the city for years 
afterwards. The lots were unsalable, and the method of platting 
a serious detriment to that part of the town. The canal, or 
ditch, as it was afterwards called, bred disease, and the city 
authorities were called upon to fill it up. Before the controversj- 
was finally settled, the excitement ran so high that the sawmill 
of Mr. E. Thresher, located on the canal at Wayne Street, which 
used the ditch as a tail-race, was burned. A large part of the 
ditch is now filled up, and the lower end used as a city drain. In 


connection with the basin and on its bank a pleasure-garden was 
opened by A. M. Peasley on Warren Street. A small pleasure- 
boat was run from Third Street on summer afternoons to the 
garden, where refreshments were provided, and it was expected 
that large numbers of pleasure-seekers would resort there. Like 
the basin, the garden was ahead of the times, and after trial of 
two or three years was abandoned. 

In 1830 Stevenson ran the first locomotive in England over the 
Manchester & Liverpool Railroad. The same 3'ear a miniature 
locomotive and cars were exhibited in Da\-ton in the INIethodist 
church. The fact that the City Council by resolution exempted 
the exhibition from a license fee, and that the Methodist church 
was used for this purpose, illustrates the deep interest felt bv the 
public in the new and almost untried scheme to transport freight 
and passengers by steam over roads constructed for the purpose. 
A track was run around the interior of the church, and for a 
small fee parties were carried in the car. A large part of the 
then citizens of Da3-ton took their first railroad ride in this way. 

The population of Dayton in 1S30 was two thousand nine hun- 
dred and fifty-four, a gain of one thousand two hundred and 
thirtj'-seven in little more than two years. This year eight3--one 
houses were built. In 1831 fift}- brick and sevent3--two frame 
buildings were erected. The population was three thousand two 
hundred and fiftj'-eight. Six thousand two hundred and nine- 
teen passengers by coach passed through town this vear. 

In November about two hundred and fifty Seneca Indians, men, 
women, and children, on their way to the reser\-ation west of the 
Mis.sissippi River, encamped at the big spring on the north side 
of Mad River. They were here three davs, and excited great 
curiosity by their singular, rude, and uncivilized habits and ap- 
pearance. One of the gaping crowd, who was watching them at 
dinner, moved off in some confusion when an Indian, at whom 
he was staring, looked up and said, "Indian eats just like white 
man; he puts the victuals in his mouth." At this period no 
houses had been erected on the northwest corner of First and Jef- 
ferson streets, and the lots were used for shows. The Indians 
took great pleasure in riding on a merry-go-round, which was a 
feature of the show of 1S31. One afternoon a crowd of them, all 
intoxicated, came whooping down First Street. Not satisfied 
with riding, they proceeded to break the merry-go-round and 
fight the owner and his customers. Nothing could be done with 

1816-1S35 157 

them till the agent who had command of them arrived, armed 
with a club, which he used freeljf. Their submission was so sud- 
den and entire as to be laughable. They feared the United States 
Government, which the agent represented, and fled before its 
representative like sheep to their camp across INIad River. 

The first Daj'ton public school was opened Decembers, 1831, 
by Sylvanus Hall, "approved teacher," in the school-room on 
Jefferson Street between Water and First streets. Public money 
was appropriated to support it, but the amount not being suffi- 
cient, each pupil paid a dollar per quarter for tuition. Three 
additional rooms were soon afterwards opened in different parts 
of the town for the convenience of scholars. 

School-directors seem at first to have been appointed at public 
meetings of citizens. The following served during this period : 
Luther Bruen, Nathaniel Wilson, Henry Van Tuyl, Thomas 
Brown, William Hart, James Slaght, J. H. Mitchell, David 
Osborn, Ralph P. Lowe, Simon Snyder, and William H. Brown. 
The city charter of 1841 provided for the appointment by Council 
of a school-manager from each ward, and Council and this board 
worked together harmoniously for years. The tax levj' for school 
purposes was so small that frequently the schools could onl}^ be 
kept open a few months. The teachers taught private schools in 
the houses the remainder of the year. 

Ju-st below the mouth of Stillwater the Miami makes a bend 
in the form of a horseshoe, inclosing in it that part of Dayton 
known as Riverdale. By cutting a race across the bend, a val- 
uable water-power is obtained. About 1829 James Steele, who 
owned the land, completed a dam across the Miami and the race. 
In 1831 he erected a sawmill and afterward a grist-mill. This 
water-power is now known as the Dayton View Hydraulic. In 
digging the race an immense tooth of a mastodon was unearthed, 
which was deposited as a curiosity in the Cincinnati Museum. 
As no other part of the skeleton was found in the vicinity, it is 
suppo.sed that the tooth was brought with the drift from some 
other region. 

General Robert C. Schenck began the practice of law in Da}'- 
ton in 1831. He was a public-spirited citizen, taking an active 
interest in all efforts for the improvement of the town, and im- 
pressing himself upon this community' long before he attained a 
national reputation. He devoted much time and labor to the 
Da3'ton Lj'ceum, Mechanics' Institute, Public Librar3', Woodland 


Cemetery, citj' park, the 113'd.raulic, turnpikes, railroads, and 
public schools, and frequently gave gratuitous lectures at the in- 
vitation of his townsmen. 

This year the rivers were very high at Dayton, and there was 
much destruction of propert}' and great distress caused by the 
unprecedented height of the Ohio at Cincinnati. As soon as the 
news reached here that the homes of many poor people at Cincin- 
nati had been washed awa3', a call for a meeting at the Court- 
house to raise funds for the flood-sufferers was published in the 
Da3'ton newspapers. At the meeting two hundred and two dol- 
lars were raised b}' subscription and sent bj- John "W. Van Cleve, 
Mayor of Daj'ton, to the Mayor of Cincinnati, "to aid in 
relieving the distressed people of that cit3'." 

At no time in the histor3' of Da3-ton, except during the Civil 
War, has there been as exciting a political campaign as that of 
1832, preceding the second election of General Jackson as Presi* 
dent of the United States. So bitter was the feeling on both 
sides in this contest that "Whigs and Democrats, though neigh- 
bors and old friends, ceased speaking to each other on the 
streets. Previous to ^Madison's administration the people of 
Da3'ton seem to have been nearh* all of one mind on the subject 
of politics, or at an3' rate not intense partisans ; but for a num- 
ber of 3-ears after that date an election rareh- passed without 
several fights between the members of the two parties — usuall3- 
on the corner of I\Iain and Third streets, for the Court-house was 
the polling-place for the whole township, in which the territor3^ 
now assigned to Harrison, INIad River, and Van Buren townships 
was then included. Late on the night before the Presidential 
election in 1S32, a tall liickor3' pole was erected on the outer edge 
of the pavement in front of the Court-house, and from it floated 
the American flag. Great was the surprise and indignation of 
the Whigs when this pole greeted their 63 es the next morning, 
and great the triumph of the part3' which had erected it. Crowds 
of Whigs gathered on the corners, muttering angr3- impreca- 
tions. It was evident that tlie3- would not permit the hickor3' 
tree to remain standing at the polls, and as certain that the 
Democrats would violentl3' resist an3- effort which the other 
part3' might make to remove it, and that a pitched battle would 
ensue if the authorities did not interfere. A meeting of Council 
was held earh' in the morning, and presentl3' those of the citizens 
who had not gone home to breakfast saw the Council, headed 

1S16-1S35 159 

bj' the marshal, John Dodson, followed bj' John W. Van Cleve, 
the gigantic Ma3'or, ax in hand, and Dr. John Steele and 
F. F. Carrell, march to the hickorj' tree and form a circle around 
it. The Ma3-or notified the marshal of the order of Council just 
passed to "cut down the pole and drag it out as a nuisance." 
It was the dutjr of the marshal to perform this perilous act. 

An account of this occurrence published in the Journal in 1SS9 
called out two communications on the subject from e3-e-witnesses. 
One of them saj-s : "In the face and in defiance of an outraged 
and infuriated collection (not mob) of red-hot Jackson Demo- 
crats — and what that meant could hardly be appreciated by 
one of this cold-blooded, law-abiding generation — the worthj' 
marshal hesitated, as well he might. A man of lofty mien and 
determined purpose in everj' movement stepped to the front, 
seized the ax, and, wielding it as onl3' a stalwart Kentuckian 
could wield it, with a few well-served strokes brought the offen- 
sive emblem to the ground. When it fell, there was a pause ; not 
a cheer was heard from the "Whigs, and onlj' muttered curses 
from the Democrats. The audacity of this brave act of Dr. John 
Steele, a man universallj' known and respected, no doubt pre- 
vented a bloodj' riot." Another correspondent states that the 
pole was cut down bj- Herbert S. Williams. Probablj^ both 
accounts were correct, as from the size of the pole it would 
require a good man3' strokes of the ax to fell it, and more than 
one hand maj- have been emploj-ed on it. 

A canal-boat arrived in Da5-ton December 17, 1832, with 
twenty-five German emigrants on board, all of whom were ill 
with cholera, or something similar to it. One of them had died 
the day before the boat reached here. The}' all crowded into a 
small room together when thej' landed. Seven of the Germans 
and the two nurses emplo3-ed bj' the town died. A board of 
health had been appointed hy Council in the summer, so that all 
sanitarj' precautions were taken to prevent the spread of the dis- 
ease, which was prevailing in other parts of the United States. 
The Board of Health consisted of a member of Council and two 
other citizens from each ward. The following persons were 
appointed : First Ward, Aaron Baker and George C. Davis ; 
Second Ward, James Steele and William Bomberget; Third Ward, 
H. G. Phillips and Stephen Whicher ; Fourth Ward, Dr. Haines 
and E. W. Davies ; Fifth Ward, James Mitchell and William Pat- 
terson. There were thirt3'-three deaths here from cholera in 1833. 


During 1832 fiftj'-one brick and sixty -two ■n-ooden houses were 
erected. A silk manufactorj' was established in town this j'ear 
b}' Daniel Rowe. He made sewing-silk and the warp for coarse 
stuffs. Some handkerchiefs were also manufactured. He adver- 
tises in June that he has two thousand Italian mulberry trees 
ready to pluck, and will furnish leaves, silkworm eggs, and frames 
for those willing to raise cocoons for him on shares. He also 
offers to pay the highest price for cocoons delivered at the store 
of Swain & Demarest, and hopes bj' the next year to take all 
that the neighborhood could produce. A number of persons 
planted mulberr}- trees at this time, and expected to engage in 
raising silkworms. But the factorj- was not a success. A silk 
company, with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars, was 
formed in 1S39, ^^^ ^^^o failed. 

In 1832 the Da3'ton Lj'ceum was established, the object of which 
was ' ' the diffusion of knowledge and the promotion of sociabilitj-. ' ' 
Meetings were to be held once a week ' ' for lectures, communica- 
tions, essaj's, and discussions of all subjects except theolog}- and 
the politics of the da}." It was also proposed to collect a cabinet 
of antiquities and minerals, and a library. A discourse was to 
be delivered " at the annual meeting of the society on the 27th of 
August, being the anniversar}- of the location of the town of 
Daj'ton." For several winters the Lyceum furnished courses 
of lectures and debates, which were of the highest interest and 
afforded great enjoj-ment to the people of Davton. In 1S33 the 
library of the Lj'ceum was kept at the house of Ira Fenn. 

In 1S33 the Mechanics' Institute was organized. The first 
secretar}- was Henry L. Brown, one of the best and most useful 
men who ever lived in Da>-ton. The object of the institute was 
"moral, literary, and scientific improvement." A librarj- and 
reading-rooms were connected with it, and for manj' 3-ears a 
course of lectures was given each winter. A public address was 
delivered at the Court-house Jul}- i, 1S33, by Robert C. Schenck, 
in behalf of the INIechanics' Institute, and during its existence 
every citizen of Dayton who had any abilitv for lecturino- was 
called upon for that sers'ice. 

At this period there must have been unusual literary interest 
and activity in Dayton, for there were no less than six public 
liliraries in existence, as we learn from notices in the newspapers. 
None of them were large, but in the aggregate thej' reached a 
wide circle of readers. 

1816-1835 i6i 

Charles Soiile, aftenvards a noted portrait painter, opened a 
store for the sale of engravings and for framing pictures in 1833. 
He also carried on ' ' his old business of sign and ornamental 
painting" at his shop. 

The second election of General Jackson to the Presidency was 
celebrated in Daj'ton on the 8th of Januar}-, 1833, b}- a barbecue 
on the common west of the basin, now Cooper Park. National 
salutes were fired during the daj-. Immediatel}' on the arrival 
at noon of a canal-boat with from tiftj' to one hundred citizens 
of Miamisburg, " a hickory tree bearing the American flag, still 
larger and more majestic than that which on a previous occasion 
left a stump" (an evident allusion to the cutting down of the 
Jackson pole in 1S32), was erected. A large number of people 
from this and adjacent counties were present on this occasion. 
After the erection of the pole a procession was formed, in front 
of which walked four Revolutionary soldiers bearing liberty-caps 
and two members of the Dayton Hickory Club carr3'ing an 
appropriate banner, who were followed b}' another soldier bear- 
ing the American flag. After moving through the principal 
streets, the procession passed into the Court-house, where an 
address was made and resolutions were adopted. From the Court- 
hovise the}' proceeded to the common, where an ox was roasted 
whole, of which and other refreshments all were indiscriminately ' 
invited to partake. The barbecue was followed by some "spirited 
sentiments," after which the procession reformed and marched 
to the center of town, where it dispersed. A barbecue was 
usually an uninviting feast. The outer part of the ox was 
smoked and scorched, and the remainder uncooked, though the 
animal was always roasted for manj- hours. After the feast 
the almost untouched carcass was hauled off b}' horses, sur- 
rounded by a crowd of boys and dogs, to be disposed of bj- hogs 
and hounds. 

There were one thousand and one buildings in Da5-ton in 1833. 
The population was four thousand. January 3, 1S34, an ordi- 
nance was passed b}' Council for the appointment of one or more 
watchmen. Thej' were to wear uniform badges and have the 
same power to call on persons to assist them in arresting of- 
fenders as the marshal had. The marshal and these watchmen 
constituted the police of Dayton. 

Plans for a covered wooden bridge over the IMiami River on 
INIain Street were advertised for on the 28th of Januar}^ 1S34. 


The county commissioners, on June 4, 1835, appropriated six 
hundred dollars toward the building-fund, and the remainder of 
the money was raised by subscription. The bridge was opened 
for travel in 1836. 

The news of the death of Lafayette was received in 1834, and 
commemorative services were held on the 31st of August. A 
procession, composed of the mechanics of the town, csa-rymg 
handsome banners draped in black, and representing their differ- 
ent occupations, the Masonic Fraternity, and the Order of Inde- 
pendent Odd Fellows, formed about eleven o'clock, and marched 
to the Presbj'terian church. The exercises were opened with an 
impressive praj'er b}' Rev. E. Allen, after w'hich a beautiful and 
feeling ode, written for the occasion bj' a young lad}- of Da^'ton, 
was sung b}' the choir. Robert A. Thruston delivered "an 
impassioned and eloquent delineation of the talents of the deceased 
patriot." Then an ode, written for a similar occasion in Cin- 
cinnati by James Hall, was sung by the choir. Solemn music 
by the Cincinnati band accompanied the exercises, which closed 
with a prayer and benediction bj- Rev. David Winters. The 
committee of arrangements on this occasion was composed of 
the following gentlemen : Thomas Clegg, George Owen, W. L. 
Helfenstein, E. W. Davies, Peter Odlin, John Steele, E. Brown- 
ing, R. A. Thruston, E. Brabham, James Brown, Robert C. 
Schenck, John Anderson, Peter Baer, and C. G. Swain. 



Measuhes Proposed for Improving the Town in 1836— Proceedings of Coun- 
cil— Public Meeting to Sustain Council — Cooper Parli — Dayton Business 
Men in 1S36 — Educational Convention in 1836 — Shinplasters — Thomas 
Morrison — Zoological Museum — "William Jennison — First Railroad — 
Turnpilies — First Public-School Buildings— Opposition to Public Schools 

— Processions of School Children and Other Efforts to Excite an Inter- 
est in Public Schools — Samuel Forrer Tal^es Charge of Turnpikes — His 
Biography — -Midnight Marliets — Cooper Hydraulic — Change of Chan- 
nel of Mad River — First County Fair — Jforit^ JlidticauUs Excitement 
— Dayton Carpet Manufactory — Number of Buildings Erected in 1839 — 
Log Cabin Newspaper — Harrison Convention — Numbers in Attendance 

— Hospitality of Dayton People — Banners Presented. 

In April, 1836, Council appointed a committee, consisting of 
Messrs. Stone, Smith, and Winters, to effect a loan in behalf 
of the corporation of from one to ten thousand dollars, at a rate 
of interest not exceeding six per cent., and for a period of not 
less than five j-ears, the interest to be paid annually. The 
money so obtained was to be used in improving the streets and 
the appearance of the town. The following proceedings of the 
next meeting of Council describe the proposed improvements : 

"The Common Council of the town of Daj^ton, at their meet- 
ing April 25, 1S36, passed the following resolution : That they 
would appropriate and spend so much monej' ( provided a loan 
can be obtained) as will make the following improvetnents, viz.: 
wharfing across the head of the State basin ; improving the 
public commons as requested bj' D. Z. Cooper, in consideration 
of his releasing a part thereof for the benefit of the corporation, 
provided the balance be improved immediately ; to extend the 
market-house on center market-space to Jefferson Street ; to 
grade the streets and walks throughout the town, and so soon as 
the grade is correctly ascertained, to raise and lower the walks 
in the different wards to the said grade ; to finish the cisterns 
already commenced with lime cement, and to purchase five hun- 
dred more feet of hose for the Fire Department." 

As there was a difference of opinion in respect to the propriety 
of borrowing money and making the above improvements, it was 


resolved, on motion of the recorder, David Winters, ' ' that all citi- 
zens interested in the above matter be requested to meet at the 
Court-house Wednesday evening next at earl5' candle-lighting, 
and then and there express their approbation or disapprobation 
of the above measure." Peter Aughinbaugh was chairman of 
the town meeting called by Council, and Daniel Roe secretarj'. 
Addresses were made bj' Blessrs. Robert C. Schenck, Ralph 
P. Lowe, Henrj' Bacon, and Daniel Roe. There was some oppo- 
sition to the proposed improvements on the ground that they 
were more for ornament than use, and that thej' would increase 
the taxes, while the advantages would be unequall3- distributed. 
Council proposed to borrow ten thousand dollars, three thousand 
of which were to be expended on the park and the remainder 
on other improvements. After a full discussion a majont3' of 
the meeting passed resolutions commending the improvements 
contemplated b}^ Council and the loan bj- means of which the}^ 
were to be accomplished. The}' recommended that Council 
should appl}' one-tenth of an}- amount to be expended during 
the year in filling up the ditch commonh' called "Seelj-'s Basin." 

An act of the Legislature, passed Februarj' 17, 180S, empow- 
ered Daniel C. Cooper to amend the original plat of Dayton as to 
lots 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 141, 142, 143, and then set them 
apart as a common for the use of the citizens. To induce the 
citizens to convert the "commons" into a park that would be 
creditable, in December, 1836, David Zeigler Cooper, son of 
Daniel Cooper, executed a deed authorizing the city to lease lots 
94, 95, and 96, and releasing any reversionar\- interest that might 
accrue to him. It was provided in the deed that the remaining 
ground should be enclosed, planted with trees, and forever kept 
as "a walk" for "the citizens of Dayton and its visitors." It 
was manifestly the intention that the proceeds from the leases 
should be used to keep the park in perfect order. In 1838 the 
"public square," as the park was then called, was prepared for 
and planted with fine forest trees, which the Journal of that da^- 
says was "a fair beginning for a work which promises to be a 
credit, as well as an ornament, to the town." 

Major Daniel W. Wheelock, the eflicient and public-spirited 
Mayor of Dayton during 1S36, 1837, and 1838, suggested many 
of the new improvements, and energetically hastened the com- 
pletion of those begun while he was in ofiice. A number of new 
buildings were erected in 1836-37. Among the most inipor- 

1S36-1S40 • i6s 

tant was a handsome brick Catliolic cliurch. Thomas ^Morrison, 
builder, as stated in the Daj'ton Journal, reported the nnmber of 
buildings put up this j-ear as fort3--iive of brick and thirtj^-five 
of frame. 

It may be interesting to mention the names of some of the 
business men whose advertisements appear iu the JouiiiaL at 
this period. Numbers of them had been doing business in 
Dayton for many 3-ears. ^I. & G. A. Hatfield, chaimiakers ; 
T. & W. Parrott, merchants ; John Bidleman, boot- and shoe- 
maker; Swain & Demarest, produce dealers; Samuel Shoup, 
merchant ; Simon Snyder and Samuel INIcPherson, tanners ; 
Thomas Casad, hatmaker , Thomas Brown, biiilder ; Richard 
Green, shoemaker; J. Bums, edge-tool manufacturer; H. Best, 
jeweler : James, Johnsou V. & Henry A". Perrine, merchants ; 
James 3IcDaniel, merchant tailor; Aughinbangh & Loomis, 
hardware ; George W. Smith & Son, merchants ; Samuel Dolh', 
coachmaker ; E. Edmondson, tanner; Jacob Stutsman, copper- 
smith ; Conover & Kincaid, merchants ; T. Barrett and R. P. 
Brown, booksellers and bindery ; E. Helfenstein & Co., hardw.'ire ; 
Phillips, Green & Co. merchants; C. Koerner, druggist; He:irv 
Herrman, merchant; Rench, Harshman & Co., produce ileLders ; 
D. Z. Peirce and AV. B. Stone, grocers; C. & W. F. Spining, 
merchants ; Brown & Hoglen, grocers ; Daniel Roe & Sons, 
druggists; Daniel Keifer, cabinet-maker; Alexander Swavnie, 
produce dealer; J. Greer & Co., stoves; T. & J. H. Boyer, copper 
and tin shop : Brown & Peirce, merchants ; Van Cleve & Xewell, 
druggists; Estalirook & Phelps, grocers; Edwin Smith & Co., 
druggists ; IMorrison & Arnold, builders ; Samuel Bradv, mer- 
chant ; R. A. Kerfoot, saddler; Abraiii Darst, grocer; J. O. 
Shoup, merchant. 

This year a daih- mail from AA'ashington — through in fifty-six 
hours — -was established. 

A memorable convention was held in Davton in August, 1S36, 
in the interest of free schools. A committee of arrangements 
was appointed consisting of E. E. Barne)-, R. C. Carter, R. C. 
Schenck, George B. Holt, and ^lilo G. Williams. Delegates 
were present from Cincinnati and seven or eight other Ohio 
towns, and visitors from Belleville, New Jersey-, and Detroit, 
Michigan. Rev. E. Allen was elected president, and Daniel 
A. Havnes secretari.-. The convention remained in session three 
davs. Able addresses were made by Rev. \V. H. ^IcGuffev. D.D., 


a man of remarkable ability as a speaker, and afterwards the 
compiler of the famous readers that bore his name, and Dr. Har- 
rison, an eloquent and distinguished professor in the Cincinnati 
Medical College. The discussions took a wide range, and were 
participated iu b}- some of the most distinguished educators in 
the State. What advanced views were held maj- be learned from 
the resolutions adopted, which favored the establishment of 
normal schools, that teaching might become a profession ; the 
introduction in the schools of the studies of geologj' and phj-si- 
olog3' ; and the publication of a periodical to be called the 
Teachers' Magazine. The convention was fully reported in 
the Daj'ton Journal. The editors, R. N. and W. F. Comly, 
warml}- and ablj' advocated the cause of public schools, and 
freel}' opened the columns of the Joitr?ial to the discussion of 
the subject. 

The wild speculations which preceded and culminated in 1S37 
resulted in a complete prostration of business, from which the 
country did not recover for many years. The failure of manj' 
banks, and the suspension of specie pa\-ments b}- the others, 
made money, and especialh- silver change, excessivelj- scarce. 
As a substitute for small coin, "shinplasters," or promises to 
pay iift}', twentj'-five, or ten cents cm demand, printed on ordi- 
nary paper, were issued by merchants, grocers, and others. 
Thomas ISIorrison, who was an extensive owner of real estate, 
which was a basis for credit, issued a large amount of these 
"shinplasters." It was so easy and tempting to issue money 
which was current to be redeemed in the future, that it is not 
surprising that an amount was put out much beyond the original 
intention. AVhen the time came for redemption, the following 
advertisement in Ih'i Journal of June 26, 1S3S, shows the unpleas- 
ant position in which ]Mr. Jlorrison was placed : 


"Fellow-Citizens: I am compelled to leave town to fulfill 
a contract that I have undertaken — that is, to build a mill at the 
falls of (ireenville Creek for G. W. Smith. I leave Dayton at 
this time with regret, because the law prohibiting the circulation 
of small notes or shinplasters is soon to take effect, and I wish to 
satisfy my fellow-citizens that I am not the man under anv cir- 
cumstances to take advantage of that law, bv which the State 
allows me to act the rascal. No ; it is vain to try to induce me 
to do so. I intend to redeem every note I have put iu circulation, 
and that as soon as I return, and will do it with pleasure and 

I836-IS40 167 

satisfaction. I desire my fellow-citizens and all who have confi- 
dence in ni3' word of honor — and I trust there are some who 
believe I will do as I say — not to refuse to take them till my 
return, when every cent shall be paid, with the addition of six 
per cent, interest for everj- day the notes are left unredeemed 
after the ist of Jul}'. On my return I will give public notice, 
so that the holders of my notes may call. It has been an un- 
profitable business, but it shall end honesth'." 

In the end INIr. Morrison redeemed in full all the "shinplas- 
ters" he issued. IMr. Morrison came to Daj-ton at an earlj- 
day, and was for manj- j-ears the leading contractor and builder 
of the town. His son, David H. Morrison, a skillful civil 
engineer and founder of the Columbia Bridge Works, married 
Harriet, the daughter of Robert J. Skinner, the pioneer news- 
paper publisher and editor. JMarj- Morrison married Dr. M. 
Garst, and Maria, Daniel Garst. 

A number of citizens assembled on the i6th of September 
at the Court-house for the purpose of establishing a zoolog- 
ical museum. A committee, consisting of John W. Van Cleve, 
Dr. John Steele, William Jennison, and Thomas Brown, was 
appointed to ascertain whether a suitable room could be obtained, 
and funds for pa3'ing for it secured. A room was procured at 
the head of the basin, but the place was unsuitable and not 
attractive. The idea of establishing a public museum would 
not have suggested itself to the citizens of Dayton at that 
earl}' date but for the presence here of a verj- accomplished 
naturalist, AVilliam Jennison, who had been for a nmnber of 
years engaged in such work in Germany, and being connected 
with foreign societies of naturalists, would be able to procure 
from abroad almost any specimens desired, merel}' bj- appljnng 
for them and paj-ing the cost of transportation. He had a 
number of birds prepared b}- himself in the best manner, and 
handsomely arranged in glass cases ; and also hundreds of insects 
classified and arranged in scientific order, and afiording, by the 
variety of size and color, a most beautiful sight, though "the 
poor fellows were impaled with pins." All these he offered to 
place in a public museum, and to devote part of his time to the 
work of increasing the collection. But the project was soon 
abandoned, and he removed his birds and butterflies to his resi- 
dence, — then a short distance out of town, but now on Linden 
Avenue, within the corporation, — where he had a garden and 
greenhouse, in which he raised fine flowers for sale. He was an 


object of curiosity to the people when he went out, net in hand, 
to collect butterflies for his cabinet and natural-history specimens 
to exchange with his friends across the Atlantic. Mr. Jennison 
was an elegant and accomplished man, with the courtly manner 
of a gentleman of the old regime. He spoke English perfectly, 
which was probablj' due to the fact that his mother was an 
Englishwoman of rank, whom his father, Count Jennison, of 
Eleidelberg, had married while minister of the Kingdom of ~\Viir- 
temberg to the Court of St. James. Washington Irving, in a 
letter published in the second volume of his biography, gives 
an interesting account of a visit which he paid in 1S22 to Count 
Jennison and his amiable and agreeable familv. He describes 
the Count as an elegant and hospitable and highlj- cultivated 
man, who spoke PInglish as perfectly as an Englishman. 

A meeting was held on the evening of the iSth of November, 
1S37, at the Court-house for the purpose of exciting an interest 
in the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad Compau}-, incorporated 
in 1S32 and organized in 1834. Since the election of ofiicers of 
the companj' nothing further had been done. Jonathan Harsh- 
man, Robert C. Sclienck, and Peter Odlin took a prominent part 
in the meeting, and resolutions were passed urging the raisino- 
of stock and the speedy commencement of the road. The law 
affording .State aid to railroads had recently been passed b}- the 
Ohio Legislature. 

An act was passed on the 24th of iNlarch, 1S36, bj' the Legis- 
lature "to authorize a loan of credit by the State of Ohio to 
railroad companies, and to authorize subscriptions by the State 
to the capital stock of turni:iike, canal, and slack-water naviga- 
tion companies." Dayton was one of the first towns to take 
advantage of the provisions of the act guaranteeing the aid of the 
State to works of this description, and before the repeal of 
the law in 1S40 it had been the means of piutting in the course 
of construction five turnpikes, the aggregate length of the five 
roads being one hundred and forty miles, and other turnpikes 
were in contemplation. To the ainindauce of gravel, which made 
the construction o( turnpikes chea]i and easy, are due our excel- 
lent turnpikes le.uling in every ilirection to the neighboring 
towns. By iSso Dayton had fourteen turnpikes. 

The subscription books of the Dayton & Springfield Company 
were opened January 19, 1,^38, and the contract made on the i2tli 
of May. This turnpike, to induce travel through Dayton, was 

IS36-IS40 169 

built in the same style as the National Road, especialh' at its 
junction with the latter, and with similar bridges, stone culverts, 
toll-gates, and mile-stones. Comfortable brick taverns were 
erected a few miles apart along the pike. It was a great disap- 
pointment to the people of Da3-ton that the National Road did 
not pass through here. Strenuous efforts were made to induce 
Congress to locate the road through Dayton, and, having failed, 
equalU' strenuous efforts were made to have the route clianged. 
Many familiar names occur iu connection with the turnpikes 
— Peter Odlin, R. C. Schenck, Horace Pease, H. G. Phillips, 
Joseph Barnett, Thomas Brown, Thomas Dover, J. \V. ^'an 
Cleve, J. H. Crane, Jonathan Harshman, John Kneisle}-, A'. 
Winters, Abram Darst, and David Z. Peirce. 

On IMay 7, 1S3S, a public meeting was called at the Court-house 
to discuss the erection of public school-houses, and how much 
monej' should be raised b}- taxation for ihe purpose. Strenuous 
opposition was made to the le\-3- of the tax by a few wealthv 
citizens ; Imt, after a heated discussion, the measure was carried 
b}- a large iiiajorit}-. The amount to be raised was six thousand 
dollars, and two school-houses — one in the eastern and one in 
the western part of the town — were to be built. The opposition 
did not end with the meeting. It was believed that it could not 
be proved that the law had been complied with in giving notice 
of the meeting. This had been anticipated b}- ilr. E. E. Barney, 
who had taken the precaution to post the notices in person, and, 
accompanied b}' a friend, had visited them from time to time to 
see that they were not removed. The houses — considered models 
ill that day — were built. The majority of the children attended 
private schools, and all sorts of efforts were made by enlightened 
citizens to increase the popularity of the public schools. 

On the Fourth of Jul}', 1S3S, r\Ir. Elder's school paraded on ;>.Iain 
Street, escorted b}- the Blues and Gra}s, — the militia companies 
of the town, — and then gave a concert at the JNIetliodist church. 
At a public meeting in 1S39 it was resolved that the Fourth of 
July should be celebrated b5- a procession of the public, private, 
and Sundaj' schools of the town, with exercises at Cooper Park 
and a picnic-dinner for the children. Children and teachers 
marched on one side of the street, and parents and citizens on the 
other. In 1S56 the school year closed with a procession and pic- 
nic across the river. The Citj^ Council and School Board headed 
the procession. Each school carried a beautiful silk banner. 


Two brass bands enlivened the procession. At the grove there 
were declamations and songs, an address b}- the president of the 
board, and delivery of diplomas to High School graduates. In 
1S59 there was a similar procession and picnic. 

In 1839 ^l^r. Samuel Forrer, at the earnest solicitation of the 
directors, consented to take charge of the turnpikes as engineer 
and general strperintendent. The roads placed under his super- 
vision were the Daj'ton & Lebanon, Dayton & Springfield, and 
the Great Miami turnpikes. The Ohio Legislature, for partisan 
reasons, had just excluded IMr. Forrer from the Canal Board, thus 
depriving the State of a faithful and competent officer. But as 
Daj-tou could now secure the constant aid of his invaluable 
talents and experience in tlie various public improvements in 
which the citizens were interested, and which, although of a 
local character, deeplj' concerned a large proportion of the 
people, there were some among us, the Journal saj's, selfish 
enough not to regret the change. For some years the countj' 
commissioners have had the supervision of the turnpikes. The 
toll-gates, which used to be encountered ever}- few miles along 
the road, have been abolished b^- a law permitting the purchase 
of the pikes by the countj' from the companies. 

Samuel Forrer was reappointed in the spring of 1S37, b}- the 
Board of Public Works, principal engineer on the lines of the 
Wabash and Erie and INIiami canals. This appointment, as 
the proper administration of the canal involved the prosperitj- of 
Daj-ton, was a matter of rejoicing here. A number of Da3-ton 
young men went out with ilr. Forrer to learn civil engineering. 
Howe's "Historical Collections of Ohio" contains, in the chap- 
ter on "Pioneer Engineers of Ohio," bj- Colonel Charles 
Whittlesey, the following interesting biographical sketch of 
Mr. Forrer : 

"No engineer in Ohio spent as manj- years in the service of 
the State as did IMr. Forrer. He came from Pennsylvania in 
181S, and in 1S19 was deputj- surveyor of Hamilton County, 
Ohio. In iSjo Mr. William Steele, a very enterprising citizen of 
Cincinnati, Ohio, employed ]Mr. Forrer at his own expense to 
ascertain the elevation of the Sandusky and Scioto summit 
above Lake Erie. His report was sent to the Legislature b^- Gov- 
ernor Brown. This was the favorite route [for the Erie Canal], 
the shortest, lowest summit, and passed through a verj- rich 
country. The great question was a supply of water. It would 

1836- IS40 171 

have been located, and in fact was in part, when in the summer 
and fall of 1823 it was found by Judge D. S. Bates to be wholly 
inadequate. Of twentj'-three engineers and assistants eight died 
of local diseases within six j-ears. Mr. Forrer was the onlj' one 
able to keep the field permanently and use the instruments in 
1S23. When Judge Bates needed their only level, Mr. Forrer in- 
vented and constructed one that would now be a curiosit}^ among 
engineers. He named it the Pioneer. It was in form of a 
round bar of wrought iron, with a cross like a capital T. The 
top of the letter was a flat bar welded at right angles, to which a 
telescope was made fast by solder, on which was a spirit-level. 
There was a projection drawn out from the cross-bar at right 
angles to it, which rested upon a circular plate of the tripod. 
By means of thumb-screws and reversals, the round bar acting 
as a pendulum, a rude horizontal plane was obtained, which was 
of value at short range. 

"Mr. Forrer was not quite medium height, but well formed 
and very active. He was a cheerful and pleasant companion. 
Judge Bates and the canal commissioners relied upon his skill 
under their instructions to test the water question in 1823. He 
ran a line for a feeder from the Sandusky summit westerly and 
north of the watershed, taking up the waters of the Auglaize 
and heads of the ]Miami. Even with the addition the supply 
was inadequate. Until his death in 1874 Mr. Forrer was nearly 
all the time in the employ of the State as engineer, canal 
commissioner, or member of the Board of Public Works. He 
was not onl}' popular, but scrupulously honest and industri- 
ous. His life-long friends regarded his death as a personal 
loss greater than that of a faithful public oflicer. He was too 
unobtrusive to make personal enemies, not neglecting his duties, 
as a citizen zealous but just. He died at Daj'ton, Ohio, at 
10 A.M., IMarch 25, 1S74., from the exhaustion of his physical 
powers, without pain. Like his life he passed away in peace at 
the age of eighty, his mind clear and conscious of the approach- 
ing end." 

In the winter of 1838 the experiment was tried of having 
market on Monday, Wednesda}', and Friday afternoons, and in 
the early morning on the other three days. But the people soon 
returned to what Curwen calls "our midnight markets," the 
bell ringing at four o'clock in the depth of winter, and the people 
hurrying at the first tap to the market-house, as a short delay 


would deprive them of their favorite cut of meat or first choice 
of vegetabl'.-s and force them to fill their baskets with rejected 
articles. As in New York two hundred j^ears ago, "such was 
tlie strife among the thrifty townsfolk to be on hand at the open- 
ing of the market, and thercbj- get the pick of the goods, that 
long before noon the bulk of the business was done." This 
cristom of market before daj-break, in spite of its discomfort, 
continued for man}- j-ears. 

In spite of the hard times, Da\-ton was prosperous in 1S3S. 
The following improvements were made that year : Council 
ex])ended about six thousand dollars in improving and beautify- 
ing the town ; the streets and pavements i.\ere graveled, guttered, 
and macadamized for the first time, though the work had been 
begun three years before ; eighty-nine buildings, fift3'-six of 
brick and thirt3'-three of frame, were erected, and more would 
have been put up if it had been possible to obtain sufiicient brick 
and timber. The principal buildings erected were two brick dis- 
trict school-houses, the first that were built in Dayton, and tlie 
Third .Street Presbyterian Church. This was also of brick, 
seventy-two b}' fifty-two feet in size, " of approved architectural 
beauty," and cost fifteen thousand dollars. The dwellings in 
town were all occupied to their fullest capiacitv, and there were 
none for rent or for sale. 

The most valuable improvement niad.e this vear v^as the 
Coojjer Hydraulic, cinstructed by Edward \V. Davies arid 
Alexander Grimes, agents of the Cooper estate. "It is an 
enterprise," s;uil the jOH/i;,:/, "for ihe projection and comple- 
ti-in of which all who have the prosperity of Davton at heart 
v»-ill cheerfull}- accord tii the genllcmeu above lumied due credit 
for their public spirit." The hwlraulic was seven hundred feet 
long and fifty feet wide, wilh iwelve feet head, and was built 
Ijetweeu Tliird and ImRIi streets, west of Wvandotte Street. "A 
lieud in RLul Kiwr .it the northeast corner of the town extended 
soutli from the aqueduct to First Street, and along that street, 
crossing is now Keowee and }>Ieigs Street, thence in a 
northwest direction, crossing Taylor Street south of Monument 
.Vx-enne, and on and across Jlouumeut .\\-enne to and uniting 
with the Miami River at a point about fair feet south o\ 
tlie present mouth of I\Iad River." In 1840 iMr. Davies and >m-. 
tirimes, as a further improvement to the Cooper estate, "cans:,d 
a survey to be made for a new clunniel for iMad River from the 

WfWiJIIS^w ' 


From a photv^;iph l^j Bi>wcrdoi. 


1836- 1840 173 

aqueduct straight to the Miami River." It was finished in 
the winter of 1842. Originally a bayou extended up Mad River 
from the Miami to Keowee Street. 

Dayton Township was divided March 12, 1839, into two election 
precincts, the first precinct voting at the Court-house and the 
second at Houk's Tavern on Market Street. 

The Montgomery County Agricultural Society had been organ- 
ized September 11, 1838, with Colonel Henry Protzman president, 
and Charles Anderson secretarjr. The first Montgomery County 
Agricultural Fair was held in Da3'ton at Swa3'nie's Hotel, at 
the head of the basin, October 17 and 18, 1839. At eleven in 
the morning on the 17th a procession of about three hundred 
persons interested in the society marched, headed by a band 
of music, through the principal streets to the hotel, where the 
anniversarj' address was delivered by D. A. Haynes. The 
displa}- of horses, cattle, and farm products was fine. The com- 
mittee on silk, Daniel Roe, C. S. Bryant, John Edgar, Peter 
Aughinbaugh, Charles G. Swain, W. B. Stone, and R. N. 
Comly, awarded a premium, a silver cup worth ten dollars, for 
the greatest amount of silk produced from the smallest number 
of niulticaulis leaves. Other valuable premiums were awarded 
bj' the society, but the cup was offered by members of the Silk 

The mention of the Morus multicaulis tree recalls to memory- 
one of those strange manias that occasionally sweep over the 
country. The tree had recently been introduced from China, 
was of rapid growth, and furnished abundant food for silk- 
worms. It was believed that the cultivation of this tree, and 
the use of its leaves to feed silkworms, would make the United 
States the great silk-producing countrj' of the world. The 
most extravagant price was paid for young trees, and thousands 
of acres were planted. Wide-spread ruin was the result, and 
hundreds of persons lost their all in this wild speculation. 

Swaynie's Hotel, where the first Montgomery County Agri- 
cultural Fair was held, was finished in April, 1839. It was 
considered a first-class house, and regarded with pride b}' the 
people of Dayton. All the carpets in the hotel were manufac- 
tured by the Dayton Carpet Companj^ and were of such superior 
texture, designs, and colors that guests of the house could with 
difficult^' be convinced that they were made west of the Alle- 
ghany Mountains. The Dayton carpets were sold in the stores 


at Cincinnati and other Western towns as imported carpets, and 
purchasers did not discover the deception. 

The number of buildings erected in Dayton in 1839, as counted 
by Thomas Morrison, was one hundred and sixtj'-four of brick, 
thirty-six of wood, and twenty -six intended for business houses. 
A new First Presbj'terian Church took the place of the old one 
built in 1817. A Baptist church was also built on the comer 
of Fourth and Jefferson streets, fort3' by sixty feet in size and 
seventy-five feet in height. The front presented a ver}- neat 
specimen of the Grecian Doric architecture. The cost of the 
whole, including the lot, was six thousand dollars. A number 
of improvements were made along the h3'draulic. INIr. Thomas 
Brown, after particular inquiry made at the request of the 
Jo2irnal, reported that four million five hundred thousand bricks 
were made in Daj-ton during 1839. The number on hand he 
computed at five hundred thousand, which gave four millions as 
the number of bricks laid during the 3ear. 

In February', 1839, the prospectus of the Log Cabin newspaper, 
published in Dayton by R. N. and W. F. Coml}', appeared. The 
Log Cabin was continued during the Harrison campaign, and 
after enough subscribers were obtained to pav expenses, was gra- 
tuitously distributed as a campaign document. A large picture 
of a log cabin, with a barrel of hard cider at the door, occupied 
the first page of the paper. The illustrations were drawn and 
engraved b}- John W. Van Cleve. The price of the paper was 
fifty cents for thirteen numbers. Two files of the Log Cabin, 
which attained a national reputation, are on the shelves of the 
Dayton Public Library. 

The population of Dayton was now six thousand and sixt}-- 

Never in the historj- of the Northwest has there been a moje 
exciting Presidential campaign than that which preceded the 
election of General W. H. Harrison, and nowhere was the enthusi- 
asm for the hero of Tippecanoe greater than in Dayton. A remark- 
able Harrison convention was held here on the date of Perrv's 
victory on Lake Erie, and tradition has preserved such extrava- 
gant accounts of the number present, the beauty of the emblems 
and decorations displayed, and the hospitality of the citizetis 
and neighboring farmers, that the following prophecj- with which 
the Joiirna! began its account o( the celebration may almost be 
said to have been literally fulfilled : " Memorable and ever to be 

1S36-1840 175 

remembered as is the glorious triumph achieved by the immortal 
Perry on the loth of September, 1S13, scarcely less conspicuous 
on the page of histor3' will stand the noble commemoration of 
the event which has just passed before us." Innumerable flags 
and Tippecanoe banners were stretched across the streets from 
roofs of stores and factories, or floated from private residences and 
from poles and trees. People began to arrive several daj's before 
the convention, and on the 9th crowds of carriages, wagons, and 
horsemen streamed into town. About six o'clock the Cincinnati 
delegation came in b3- the Centerville road. Thej- were escorted 
from the edge of town by the Daj-ton Gra3-s, Butler Guards, Day- 
ton militar}' band, and a number of citizens in carriages and on 
horseback. The procession of delegates was headed bj' eleven 
stage-coaches in line, with banners and music, followed by a 
long line of wagons and carriages. Each coach was enthusi- 
astically cheered as it passed the crowds which thronged the 
streets, and the cheers were responded to b}- occupants of the 
coaches. Twelve canal-boats full of men arrived on the loth, 
and everj' road which led to town poured in its thousands early 
in the morning. 

General Harrison came as far as Jonathan Harshman's, five 
miles from town, on the 9th and passed the night there. Early 
in the morning his escort, which had been encamped at Fairview, 
marched to ^Nlr. Harshman's and halted there till seven o'clock, 
when it got in motion under command of Joseph Barnett, of 
Dayton, and other marshals from Clark Count}'. A procession 
from town, five miles long, under direction of Charles Anderson, 
chief marshal, met the General and his escort at the junction of 
the Trov and Springfield roads. The battalion of militia, com- 
manded hy Captain Bomberger, of the Dayton Grays, and con- 
sisting of the Gra^-s and Washington Artiller}-, of Dajton ; the 
Citizens' Guards, from Cincinnati; Butler Guards, of Hamilton, 
and Piqua Light Infantrj', were formed in a hollow square, and 
General Harrison, mounted on a white horse, his staff, and Gov- 
ernor Metcalf and staff, of Kentucky, were placed in the center. 
' ' Ever}' foot of the road between town and the place where 
General Harrison was to meet the Dayton escort was literally 
choked up with people." 

The immense procession, carrying banners and flags, and 
accompanied b}' canoes, log cabins furnished in pioneer style, 
and trappers' lodges, all on wheels, and filled with men, girls, and 


boys, the latter dressed in hunting-shirts and blue caps, made a 
magnificent displa}'. One of the wagons contained a live wolf 
enveloped in a sheepskin, representing the "hypocritical profes- 
sions" of the opponents of the Whigs. All sorts of designs 
were carried b}- the delegations. One of the most striking was 
an immense ball, representing the Harrison States, which was 
rolled through the streets. The length of the procession was about 
two miles. Carriages were usualU' three abreast, and there were 
more than one thousand in line. The day was bright and beau- 
tiful, and the wildest enthusiasm swa3-ed the mightj' mass of 
people who formed the most imposing part of "this grandest 
spectacle of time," as Colonel Todd, an eye-witness, termed the 
procession. The following description of the scene, quoted b}' 
Curwen from a contemporary newspaper, partakes of the excite- 
ment and extravagance of the occasion : 

"The huzzas from graj^-headed patriots, as the banners borne 
in the procession passed their dwellings, or the balconies where 
they had stationed themselves ; the smiles and blessings and 
waving kerchiefs of the thousands of fair women, who filled the 
front windows of eveiw house ; the loud and heartfelt acknowl- 
edgments of their marked courtesy and generous ho.spitalitv b^- 
the different delegations, sometimes rising" the same instant from 
the whole line ; the glimpses at everj- turn of the ej'e of the flut- 
tering folds of some one or more of the six hundred and fortv- 
four flags which displayed their glorious stars and stripes from 
the tops of the principal houses of. every street, the soul-stirring 
music, the smiling heavens, the ever-gle.iming lianners, tiie 
emblems and mottoes, added to the intensity of the excitement. 
Every eminence, housetop, and window was thronged with eager 
spectators, whose acclamations seemed to rend the heavens. 
Second Street at that time led through a prairie, and tiie 
bwstanders, by a metaphor, the sublimit)' of which few but 
Wi-sterners can appreciate, likened the excitement around them 
to a mighty sea of fire sweeping over its surkicc, 'gathering, and 
heaving, and rolling up\\-ards, and yet higher, till its flames 
licked the stars and fired the whole heavens.'" 

After marching through the principal streets the procession 
was disbanded by General Harrison at the Xational Hotel on 
Third Street. At one o'clock the procession was reformed and 
mo\ed to the stand erected lor the speeches "upon a spacioiis 
plain" east i>f iM'ont vSlreet and north of Third. r\Ir. S.nmiel 

1856- 1S40 177 

Forrer, an experienced civil engineer, made an estimate of the 
space occupied bj^ this meeting and of the number present at it. 
He sa3-s : "An exact measurement of the lines gave for one side 
of the square (oblong) one hundred and thirty 3'ards and the 
other one hundred and fifty j-ards, including an area of nineteen 
thousand five hundred square yards, which, multiplied b}- four, 
would give seventy-eight thousand. Let no one who was 
present be startled at this result or reject this estimate till he 
compares the data assumed with the facts presented to his own 
view while on the ground. It is easy for anj- one to satisfy him- 
self that six, or even a greater number of individuals, may stand 
on a square yard of ground. Four is the number assumed in 
the present instance ; the area measured is less than four and 
one-half acres. Every fanner who noticed the ground could 
readilj' perceive that a much larger space was covered with 
people, though not so closely as that portion measured. All will 
admit that an oblong square of one hundred and thirty yards by 
one hundred and fiftj^ did not at any time during the first hour 
include near all that were on the east side of the canal. The 
time of observation was the commencement of General Harri- 
son's speech. Before making this particular estimate I had 
made one by comparing this assemblage with nij' recollection of 
the 25th of February convention at Columbus, and came to the 
conclusion that it was at least four times as great as that." Two 
other competent engineers measured the ground, and the lowest 
estimate of the number of people at the meeting was seventy- 
eight thousand, and as thousands were still in town it was 
estimated that as many as one hundred thousand were here 
on the loth of September. 

Places of entertainment were assigned delegates by the com- 
mittee appointed for that purpose, but it was also announced in 
the Journal that no one need hesitate "to enter any house for 
dinner where he may see a flag flying. Every Whig's latch- 
string will be out, and the flag will signify as much to all who 
are a hungry or athirst." A public table, where dinner was 
furnished, as at the private houses, without charge, was also 
announced as follows by the Journal: "We wish to give our 
visitors log-cabin fare and plenty of it, and we want our friends 
in the country to help us." A committee was appointed to take 
charge of the baskets of the farmers, who responded liberally 
to this appeal. 


In early times, when hotel and boarding-house accommodations 
in Dayton were verj' limited, it was the custom, whenever there 
was a political or religious convention, or any other large public 
meeting here, for the citizens to freely entertain the delegates at 
their homes. At night straw-beds were laid in rows, a narrow ' 
path between each row, on the floors of rooms and halls in both 
stories of dwellings, and in this way accommodation was fur- 
nished for many guests. The making of the ticks for these beds 
before the da3-s of sewing-machines, required man}' da3's of 
labor, often principally done by the hostess. As late as 1S53, 
when the first State fair was held in Daj-ton, public-spirited 
citizens who could afford the expense exercised this generous 
but somewhat primitive hospitalit\'. ^^^len a meeting was of a 
religious character, the different denominations assisted in enter- 
taining the guests. During the 1S40 convention the hot dinner, 
which was served if possible on such occasions, was supple- 
mented b}' large quantities of cold roast and boiled meats, 
poultry, cakes, pies, and bread that had been prepared before- 
hand. A few wealthj' housekeepers employed men cooks and 
other additional assistance during the convention. But there 
were no caterers or confectioners in those days, and good domes- 
tic help was rare, so that a great part of the labor of preparing 
for their hungry crowd of guests was performed bj- Davton ladies 
with their own hands. 

All the houses in Dayton occupied by Whigs were crowded to 
their fullest capacity during the Harrison convention, and again 
at the Clay convention in 1S42. One family, according to a 
letter from its mistress written at the time, entertained three 
hundred persons at dinner one day in 1S42, and the same night 
lodged nearly one hundred guests. Thirty Kentuckiaus left that 
afternoon, or there would have been over one hundred lodgers. 
The writer states that the houses of all her friends and relatives 
were as crowded as her own, and says that this lavish hospitalitj- 
was a repetition of what occurred in 1840. The letter contains 
an interesting description of a morning" reception for ladies 
during the convention of 1S42 at the residence of IMr. J. D. 
Phillips, where INIr. Clay was staying. A crowd of women of 
all ranks and conditions — some in silk and some in calico — were 
present. Mr. Clay shook hands with them all, after^vards mak- 
ing a complimentary little speech, saying, among other graceful 
things, that the soft touch of the ladies' hands had healed his 

1S36- 1S40 179 

fingers, bruised b}' the rough grasp of the men, whom he had 
received the day before. 

Among other interesting occurrences during the Harrison con- 
vention was the presentation, on the 9th of September, of a 
beautiful banner to the Tippecanoe Club of the town by the 
married ladies of Da3-ton. The banner was accompanied by an 
eloquent address written for the occasion by Mrs. D. K. Este, 
and was presented in the name of the ladies to the club, who 
were drawn up in front of the residence of jNIr. J. D. Phillips, by 
Judge J. H. Crane. It was decorated on one side with an em- 
broidered wreath, with a view of General Harrison's house in 
the center, and on the other side with a painting of Perrj^'s 
victorj' on Lake Erie, executed by Charles Soule ' ' with the skill 
and taste for which he is so distinguished." 

On the nth of September the j-oung ladies of Dayton pre- 
sented a banner, wrought b5' their own hands, to General 
Harrison. Daniel A. Ha3'nes made the presentation speech. 
The convention was addressed bj' many noted men. General 
Harrison was a forcible speaker, and his voice, while not sonor- 
ous, was clear and penetrating, and reached the utmost limits of 
the immense crowd. Governor INIetcalfe, of Kentuck}', was a 
favorite ■\;\'ith the people. A stonemason in earl}' life, he was called 
' ' Stone- Hammer ' ' to indicate the crushing blows inflicted by his 
logic and his sarcasm. The inimitable Thomas Corn-in held his 
audience spellbound with his eloquence and humor, and R. C. 
Schenck added greatly to his reputation by his incisive and witty 
speeches. Joseph H. Crane, R. S. Hart, and other Daytonians 

DAYTON FROM 1840 TO 1896 



DAYTON FROM 1840 TO 1896 

The Beginning of "the Forties " — Distinguished Visitors— Schools — Oregon 

— West Dayton — Banks — Police Department — New Jail and Court-House 

— Cemeteries — Dayton Bar — General Robert C. Schenck — Clement L. 
Vallandighanx — Thomas Brown — Prominent Physicians — Public Library 

— Churches — Floods — Cholera — The Mexican "War — First Telegraph Mes- 
sage — Gas and Electric Light — Railroads — Street -Railroads — Fire Depart- 
ment— Water -Works-Dayton Orphan Asylum — Young Men's Christian 
Association — Woman's Christian Association — Young AVomen's League 

— St. Elizabeth Hospital — Protestant Deaconess Hospital — Musical Soci- 
eties — Literary Clubs — Improvements — IManufacturing and Mercantile 
Interests — Natural Gas — Newspapers — Periodicals — David Stout — Eben- 
ezer Thresher — A' alen tine Winters — Frederick Gebhart — Robert W.Steele. 

By the beginning of "the forties" man 5- of the toilers who 
had made the earlj' history of Dayton slept in the little green 
gravej'ard on Fifth Street. There were a few left — ^old men and 
women who told the fireside tales, or watched with qtiiet wonder 
the enterprises of the new generation, treading with careful steps 
the newl}' made streets and pavements, or venturing out on the 
smooth roads, with bridges, toll-gates, and taverns, that were 
being built in all directions. 

This bright, hospitable little town seems to have had some 
distinguished visitors. In 1S42 it was enlivened by another 
convention and honored b}' the presence of the great Clay. 
Again all were made welcome. Receptions, banquets, banner 
presentations, and speeches were the order of the day. In the 
autumn of 1843 John Quinc}' Adams passed through Da3'ton on 
his way to Cincinnati. 

The earh' settlers had ever been anxious to secure for their 
children the advantages of civilization which thej' had willingly 
abandoned for themselves, and now the public schools, under the 
care of a faithful board of directors, were getting a foothold in 
spite of hard times, for in 1S42 four schools were opened, — two in 
houses built for them in 1837 and two in rented rooms, — but 
were thriftily closed before the end of the second quarter to avoid 
debt ; and it was not until 1849 that the full school year was 


lS4 DAYTON FROM 184O TO l8g6 

reached. But there was no lack of fine private schools. Milo G. 
Williams took charge of the Dayton Academ}' in 1S44, and 
taught there until 1850 ; and in 1845 Cooper Female Seminary 
was opened, in charge of E. E. Barne}', and at once became 
known throughout Ohio, by reason of the strong personalit}-, 
magnetism, and culture of ^Nlr. Barney, as an attractive and 
scholarly institution — qualities which also distinguished it 
under the management of Miss Cox, whose name is held in 
thankful remembrance by many of the brightest women of Daj-- 
ton and other Ohio cities. 

The Roman Catholic Church in 1S47 added St. Joseph's to its 
parochial schools, and in 1849 St. Marj''s Institute. 

In the spring of 1850 the Central High School of Dayton was 
opened. In the fall it was located in the old academ}- building, 
where it remained until 1S57, when a new building was put up 
for it on the same ground — ^on the southwest comer of Fourth 
and Wilkinson streets, where the Central District School now 
stands. James Campbell, who was afterwards superintendent of 
schools, and who ^vas a dear lover of books, served as princi- 
pal for eight years. Miss jMarj^ G. Dickson, upon whom much 
practical work must have fallen ; James Turpin, whose name 
stood for music in Daj-ton ; and, later, dear old Jean Bartholo- 
mew, genial, eas}', and far from a fiery Frenchman, completed 
the first short list of teachers, whose names, "like a waft from 
the gracious spring," take back to j-onth man}- staid and sober 
men and women of to-day. Since then the roll of teachers and 
pupils has lengthened and the curriculum broadened, but the 
same spirit of zeal, energy, and enthusiasm rules in the new- 
High School building, occupied since 189^, and named in honor 
of one of the best friends of the schools — Robert W. Steele. The 
new building is situated on the southeast corner of Main Street 
and Monument Avenue, and is one of the finest in the countrv, 
having cost over a quarter of a million dollars. 

A normal school w-as opened in the autumn of 1S69 for the 
higher education and training of teachers. The free night 
schools were established in 1S77. A maniial-training school was 
opened January 2, 1S96, in the Central District School building. 

There are now nineteen district schools, with twenty-nine 
buildings conveniently located in the various parts of the city. 
Many of these buildings are large, handsome in appearance, and 
well equipped with modern improvements. 

DAYTON FROM 1S4O TO 1896 185 

In 1845 Dayton began to spread itself. That part of the citj^ 
called "Oregon" was platted; also, about the same time, the 
part lying west, between Wolf Creek and the Germantown pike, 
which was called "Miami City," now "West Da3'ton." The 
common from 1845 to 1855 was the unenclosed ground west of 
Ludlow Street to the river and south of the old grave3'ard. 

The warfare of President Andrew Jackson upon the United 
States Bank and the refusal of the Ohio Legislature to renew its 
charter compelled the closing, on the 27th day of Januarj^, 1843, 
of one of the soundest banks in the country — the old Dayton 
Bank. Daj'ton remained without banking facilities for more 
than two j-ears. In 1845 two strong, conservative banks were 
started — the Dayton Bank and the Bank of Daj'ton. Fifty 
3'ears of fair business prosperitj', with the advantages of the 
banking law of 1863, have since given us a number of reliable 
and successful banks. 

In 1841 an ordinance was passed providing that for the protec- 
tion of the citj' two constables should be elected each year in 
addition to the marshal and deputj'. It would seem that Dayton 
was once a very good little city, but in 1S50 sixtj- men were 
added to this bodj'. That Daj-ton, as a certain small boy said of 
himself, "grew bigger and bigger and badder and badder," is in- 
dicated by the organization in 1873 of the metropolitan police 
force, with a chief, two lieutenants, twenty-six patrolmen, three 
roundsmen, and three turnkej's, the arrangement being similar to 
that now in force. The city had no prison before 1858, its few 
offenders being confined in the count}' jail. Then an old engine- 
house on Main Street, between Fifth and Sixth, was fitted with cells 
and so used. In 1872 the United Brethren church, near the comer 
of Sixth and Logan streets, was bought and remodeled for a city 
prison. In 1S75 the county commissioners vacated the stone jail 
on Main Street, and it has since then been used as a work-house. 

The old Court-house, on the northwest corner of Main and 
Third streets, was completed in 1850. "An exceptionally fine 
reproduction of Grecian architecture, it was at the time of its 
erection the finest building in the State, and is still regarded as 
one of the notable buildings of the city." The new Court-house 
on Main Street, north of the old one, was completed in 1884. 

It was decided in the spring of 1869 that a new jail was needed 
for the county. It was placed west of the Court-house, on Third 
Street, and completed in February, 1874. 

l86 DAYTON FROM 1840 TO 1896 

John W. Van Cleve, of wliom a biograpliical sketch has been 
given in a previous chapter, had a very tender feeling for this 
corner of the earth, which his father had helped to hew out of the 
wilderness. He was one of those who "call ever}- bush my 
cousin." Original in character, odd in appearance, the jollj' 
band of children who followed his burly figure through many 
holiday excursions grew wiser, happier, and healthier. Men 
and women found in him an intelligent, cultivated, and agreeable 
companion, and a verj' true and loyal friend. As a citizen he 
was advanced, enterprising, and of imbending integrity. As 
previously stated, to him more than to any other we are indebted 
for our beautiful Woodland Cemeterj'. He made the suggestion 
of a rural cemetery, and from the organization of the Woodland 
Cenieterj' Association, in 1842, to the time of his death, in 1S58, 
served as its president and gave to its affairs an amount of labor 
and watchful supervision which money could not have purchased. 
In June, 1843, the cemetery was opened, being the third rural 
cemetery of any importance established in the United States. 
Robert W. Steele became the president upon the death of Mr. Van 
Cleve, and served with the same unselfish sagacitj- until his 
death in 1S91. Since the death of Mr. Steele, Jonathan H. Win- 
ters has been the president of the association. 

The ground for St. Ilenrj-'s Cemetery' was purchased b}- Arch- 
bishop Purcell and vised as a burial-place bv the Roman Catholics 
tmtil 1S72, when land was purchased for Calvarj- Cemeterj-, two 
and a half miles south of the cit}-, on a commanding bluff, with 
a wide outlook over the neighboring hills, vallevs, and river. 

The Hebrew Congregation purchased an acre on Brown Street 
in 1851, which is no longer in use, a new cemeter}- ha%'ing been 
located near Calvarj' on the bluffs. 

The first member of the Dayton bar. Judge Crane, with his 
well-trained mind, legal learning, courteous and commanding 
bearing, simple life, and kind and helpful friendliness, had 
unconsciously done much to mold the character and ambitions 
of the young lawyers who were his companions and successors, 
po that the spirit of integrity came to be a characteristic of the 
•:arly Dayton bar. Of the members of this early bar, Charles 
Anderson became Governor of Ohio, four were judges, two 
members of Congress, and ten niemliers of the Ohio Legislature. 
Among the later members Judge Ilaynes is perhaps the oldest 
and most respected. John A. INIcIMahon, who represented the 

DAYTON PROM 1840 TO 1896 187 

Third Ohio District in Congress for three terms, and Lewis 
B. Gunckel, who served in Congress and other political capac- 
ities, and whose services in connection with the location of the 
Soldiers' Home in Dayton and its management are especially 
appreciated, stand at the head of the profession at present. 

If "the baton of a marechal is hidden in every soldier's knap- 
sack," there must have been much in the saddle-bags which 
young Robert C. Schenck brought to Daj'ton in 1831 of which 
even he had no knowledge, for his musings as he followed the 
narrow trail through the quiet wood were only of the fortune he 
must make and of how he would some day write his name beside 
those of Crane, Holt, Anderson, and Thruston. The youth was 
not ill equipped — with a nature which time showed to be strong 
and deep, unlimited energy, a brain full of wit, and a mind orig- 
inal and logical, stored and trained by six 3'ears at Oxford, Ohio, 
where he had graduated first in his class, and in the office of one 
of the most distinguished legal practitioners of Ohio — Thomas 
Corwin, of Lebanon. The saddle-bags contained one very 
tangible treasure in the sealed letter from Mr. Corwin to Judge 
Crane — the "open sesame" to needed opportunity, for when the 
Judge had read it and taken a keen, quiet look at the slim, pale- 
faced, pale-haired young man, he invited him to become his 
partner. So, instead of waiting and hoping for a client, he had 
for the next three years the care of one of the largest practices in 
Ohio, Judge Crane having been called to Washington soon after. 

In politics Mr. Schenck was an ardent Whig. He was a capti- 
vating speaker, and did yeoman service in the Harrison campaign. 
In 1841 he was elected to the Ohio Legislature, from which he 
and other Whig members resigned in order to defeat the Demo- 
cratic "gerrymander bill." The next year he was returned to 
the Legislature. In 1843 Mr. Schenck was elected to represent 
this district in Congress, where he spent eight active years and 
was ranked among the foremost men of his party. In 1851 he was 
appointed United States Minister to Brazil. Having performed 
some important diplomatic services, he returned to Daj'ton in 1S56. 

Robert C. Schenck was said by Lincoln to have been the first 
man who in a public address named him for the Presidency. 

When "with a voice that shook the land, the guns of Sum- 
ter spoke," Mr. Schenck offered his services to the Government 
and was made a brigadier-general. He commanded a brigade at 
the battle of Bull Run, and did good service by his "gallantry 


in action and coolness and discretion in retreat." In the second 
battle of Bull Run he was shot in the wrist while urging his 
men on with uplifted sword. While suffering from this wound 
he received the commission of major-general. Still unfit for 
active service, he ^vas given command of the Middle District, 
where he filled a diflicult place with sagacitj' and skill. Being 
again elected to Congress in his old Third District, in 1S63, he 
resigned his commission in the arm}". It has been said that "a 
history of the course of General Schenck in the Thirt3--ninth 
and Fortieth Congresses would be a complete history of the 
military legislation of the countr}- through the most eventful 
3'ears of the War to its close." 

Appointed b}' General Grant ^linister to Great Britain in 1S71, 
he represented the United States at the Court of St. James for 
five j'ears. During this period he was also a member of the Joint 
High Commission providing for the Geneva Conference. And 
to the zeal and ability, tact and experience, of Robert C. Schenck 
America is very much indebted for that peaceful settlement. 
This was the crowning achievement in the life of the old 

General Schenck was ever a fearless fighter, and while he was 
a man with many 103-al friends, his extremeh- frank and caustic 
speech had made bitter enemies, who were able to darken some- 
what, bj' anno5dng and unfoujided charges, the last da}-s of a 
man who had for more than forty 3-ears put the interests of his 
countr3^ before his own, and used in her service talents and ener- 
gies which, applied to his chosen profession, would undoubtedly 
have brought him fortune, friends, and fame. 

It seems well to tell the story of General Schenck's life at some 
length, not because it is full of interest, as it is, — not because he 
served his countr3' well, as he did, — but because he belonged to 
Da3-ton — was her most distinguished citizen : his fame was hers ; 
he loved the place, cast his first and last vote at her polls, and 
now sleeps on one of lier sunn}- hillsides with the companions of 
his 3-outh. 

To the older men of Dayton there are few names that bring 
more stirrnig memories than that of Clement L. Vallandigham, 
who came to Dayton in 1S4;, — a lawyer b3- profession, by instinct 
a politician. lie had the qualities of his ancestors, — Scotch-Irish 
and Huguenot, — ability, courage, am1)ition, and dogged deter- 
mination, qualities which, after a series of defeats, gave him a 

i ]jl,otOL'ri.|.li )i) A[,plL't..Li. 


r.,.l. l.J A|.,>l,..nn. 



seat in the Congress of 1S56, and kept him there until 1S62. 
Vallandigham's opposition to the War was so radical, his prin- 
ciples so boldlj' declared, his influence in his party so great, as 
to induce his arrest bj' the Government in Maj-, 1863, his trial 
by a niilitar}' commission, and banishment to the South. In 
June of the next 3'ear he ran the blockade from Wilmington to 
Bermuda, and from there to Canada, where he remained at 
Windsor until the following spring. While there he was nom- 
inated by acclamation Democratic candidate for Governor of 
Ohio, and defeated b}' John Brough, of which Senator Sherman 
has just said, "I have always regarded Brough's election in 
Ohio upon the issue distinctly made, not only as to the prosecu- 
tion of the War, but in support of the most vigorous measures to 
conduct it, as having an important influence in favor of the Union 
cause equal to that of any battle of the War." In June, 1864, 
Mr. Vallandigham returned to his home in Dayton, where he was 
received b}^ an immense crowd of sympathetic and enthusiastic 
friends. From this time he was again a familiar and striking 
figure at Democratic meetings and conventions. In Majf, 1871, 
he presented to the convention in Dayton his "New Departure" 
resolutions. Soon after, he delivered the last and probably most 
powerful speech of his life. Mr. Vallandigham formed a law- 
partnership in 1870 with Judge Haynes. In June of the following 
year he was leading attorney for the defense in an important 
murder trial at Lebanon. While demonstrating his theory in 
regard to the alleged murder, he accidentally shot himself, and 
died the nest morning. Then once again the name of Vallan- 
digham brought together a great concourse of people. This 
time they followed him quietly, and left him sadly in the peace 
which comes to all — under the sod. 

Among the portraits in the large history of Dayton, Ohio, 
published in 1889, is one with the trembling, unsteadjf signature 
of an old man — "Thomas Brown." Life was still attractive 
and full of interest to this bright-eyed, active, helpful, genial 
old man when the angel of death led him gently over the 
threshold into the promised land one day in May, 1894. Mr. 
Brown had been one of Dayton's best citizens since 1828. "A 
man of public spirit, fully up with the times, and always at the 
front in all public enterprises," he was a Christian and a gentle- 
man of the old school. Born in 1800, Mr. Brown had seen the 
century from the beginning almost to the end. 

190 DAYTON FROM 184O TO 1896 

In 1840 the medical profession was represented in Daj-ton b}' 
such old-school gentlemen and positive characters as Dr. John 
Steele, Dr. Job Haines, and Drs. Hibberd and Adams Jewett. 
I,ater came many others, among them Dr. Clarke McDermont, 
who served the soldiers with heart and hand ; Dr. Armor, and 
Dr. John Davis. Of the charter members of the Montgomery 
County IMedical Societj', organized in 1849, onlj' two survive — 
Dr. Carey, lovingly remembered by many friends and patients 
here, now a citizen of Indianapolis, and Dr. J. C. Reeve, whose 
keen, sensitive, scholarl}^ face is still a familiar one among us. 

Perhaps, among the TLia.ny who spend long summer hours 
under the trees in Cooper Park, idlj' watching the little crowd 
that passes along the sun-flecked walk, and in and out of the 
open door of the Librarj', there are a few who wonder what it is — 
this strange hunger for books, not knowing it was that which 
made the beautiful building possible, and stored it with treasures 
to which all are made welcome ; for it is a verj- common instinct 
among those who love books to pass their blessings on. This 
feeling led to the establishment of libraries and h'ceums, and 
to the organization in 1847 of the Dayton Library Associa- 
tion, which soon started on a pleasant and useful career, with 
an opening list of a thousand books. In a little town of scarcely 
twenty thousand people a librarj' association was a luxurv that 
must be paid for with work and self-denial. The cheerful givers 
were called upon again and again, while other friends labored 
earnestly with tongue and pen, that the good work might go 
on. The monej' which had been gathered by taxation for school 
librar5r purposes was used in Dayton for a central librarv, which 
started in 1S55 with one thousand two hundred and filt_v carefull}' 
selected books free to all. In i860 it was determined that the 
public interest would be best served b}- the union of the two libra- 
ries ; so the Dibrarj' Association transferred its valuable librarj- 
and furniture to the Board of Education, The united books, the 
cheerful room, an ever-ready librarian, and the prosperity of an 
.assured income, comlnned then to make the Davton Public Librarj' 
the object of pride, pleasure, and profit to the citizens of Dayton 
which it is now. In 188S the library was removed to the stone, fire- 
proof building in Cooper Park — one of the finest in the AVest — 
which it now occupies ; and in its commodious quarters, with more 
than thirty-five thousand catalogued books, and a well-equipped 
museum, it is the center of attraction for a large number of citizens. 


Dayton has never been lacking in cliurclies. In 1842 Dr. Barnes 
was preaching; in the First Presbyterian Church, the second 
that had been built on the corner of Second and Ludlow streets, 
where a handsome stone one now stands. The Third Street 
Presbj'terians built a brick church on the corner of Third and 
Ludlow streets in 1S42, which they occupied until it was torn 
down to make way for the present handsome stone structure. 
The town clock which many remember on the old Second Pres- 
byterian steeple, was purchased and first placed on the tower of 
Wesley Chapel in 1851. The First Baptist Church had finished 
an edifice on the corner of Jefferson and Fourth streets, where they 
remained until the removal to their present quarters on Main 
Street. Christ Episcopal Church, on Jefferson Street, was then 
almost ten j-ears old, and was not abandoned until 1S74, when 
a new one was completed on First Street. The First United 
Brethren Church was organized in 1847 in a small room in the 
Oregon Engine-House. Their first church building was erected 
in 1S52 on Sixth Street near Logan, and served the congrega- 
tion until 1S73, when the lot on Fifth Street between Main and 
Jefferson was bought, on which their church now stands. The 
Methodists, who were among the earliest settlers of Da3'ton, had 
already outgrown two churches when a new brick one was erected 
on Third Street in 1849. In i856 more room was needed by the 
congregation, and a lot on the corner of Fourth and Ludlow 
streets was purchased and a new building dedicated in 1870. The 
First Reformed Church had finished their building on Ludlow 
between Second and Third streets in 1840. The First English 
Lutherans built their first house of worship on the southwest 
corner of Fourth and Jefferson streets in 1841. Their present 
church building was erected in i860, and dedicated in January, 
1861. The first Hebrew congregation was organized in 1850. 
They met in the old Dayton Bank building until 1863, when 
they purchased the old Baptist church. Since then a hand- 
some sj'nagogue has been built on Jefferson between First and 
Second streets. The first Roman Catholic family came to Dayton 
in 1831. By 1837 the Franklin Street church was built, and in 
1873 a very large new one just east of the old site was dedicated. 
The first church for colored people was organized in 1842. From 
these various beginnings have sprung many churches and mis- 
sions, until now, looking down from the surrounding hills, noth- 
ing is more striking than the number of slender spires in the 

192 DAYTON FROM 184O TO 1896 

once little town below that has come to be called the ' ' City of 

Dayton was much terrified and incommoded by the flood of 
1S47. Some money was lost, but no lives. The heavy rainstorms 
of September, iS66, again produced a iiood, which cost, in losses 
to individuals and public propert}-, no less than two hundred 
and fifty thousand dollars. After this disaster the waterway was 
broadened and the bridges lengthened. Another general flood 
occurred in Februar3% 18S3, and an extraordinarilj' heavy storm 
visited the city in 1SS6. 

In the summer of 1S49, by 3- cholera epidemic Da3'ton lost 
more than two hundred of her people. 

For the first half centurj- Da3-ton, like a happj' 3'oung mother, 
kept her children close about her ; but the modem restless feel- 
ing began to come. Some talked of the gold of California, and 
took the long and toilsome trip as if it were a journe}' to Fairj'- 
land. Some talked of politics and some of war. Blaine says, 
" There was not in the whole country a single citizen of intelli- 
gence who was indifferent to Cla}' or Jackson." A little later 
the men of Dayton were watching the battles of the political 
giants with the same eager interest. Some had been captivated 
by the "Fiftj'-four fort}', or fight" campaign cr^-. Others would 
have left that question to time. Some were for the annexation 
of Texas and the acquisition of Mexican territorj-. Others 
felt that a war with ]Mexico would have no excuse of justice or 
necessit}'. Yet when the election of Mr. Polk gave an unques- 
tionable verdict in favor of annexation, and when on Ma5- 13, 1S46, 
war with Mexico was formally declared, the citizens of Daj'ton 
sprang forward to defend the country, and Daj-ton became a ral- 
lying-point for the enlistment of soldiers. The militia of the 
countj', organized as the First Brigade, commanded bv Brigadier- 
General Adam Speice, was attached to the Tenth Division of Ohio 
Militia. Public meetings were held and oflices opened for 

On the 20th of May the First Brigade of the Tenth Division was 
ordered to assemble at Dayton with a view to immediate organi- 
zation for service. As the numbers of the companies were not 
quite full, the National Guard, Captain Hormell, began recruit- 
ing on the 26tli at their arniorj- ; the Dayton Dragoons, changed 
to Dayton Riflemen, Captain Giddings, at McCann's store. The 
Riflemen and National Guard ware the first to start for Camp 

From a [iliotograpli lij Applet 


li.griupli hy Ayi-U-U-a. 



Washington, the rendezvous for. Ohio volunteers. Thej- boarded 
the canal-boats, amid music and cheering, just at sunset on the 
4th of June. It is safe to saj- that the most of Da3-ton watched 
the slow boats towed off and the bright new banners vanish 
in the distance. There were sad hearts, of course ; but manj^ also 
who were eager to follow. So b}- June 9 another company 
was ready to leave, but could not be accepted b}- the Government, 
too manj- men having alreadj- volunteered for the necessities of 
the service. B3' August the three Ohio regiments were beside 
the Rio Grande, and later took a brave part in the battle of 
IMonterey. Eight Daj-ton men were lost in this battle. 

In 1S47 the Fifteenth Regiment of regulars was raised to serve 
during the war. In one of the companies there were twent3--two 
Daj-ton men. Edward A. King was appointed captain of this 
companj', which left Da5'ton on the 24th of April, 1S47, ^ great 
crowd watching its departure also. The time of the first two 
companies having expired, thej^ were mustered out of service at 
New Orleans June 11 and 12. Compan}' B reached Da)-ton on 
the 26th with a tattered flag and but fort}- men ; Compan}' C, a 
few daj-s later. The people turned out from town and countr}' — 
five thousand of them — and waited at the foot of Main Street 
with the militia, music, and guns until the slow little canal- 
boats brought them back. In response to the next call for troops 
the " Da3'ton German Grenadiers" were raised, Captain John 
AYerner. These were with Scott at Contreras, Churubusco, Cha- 
pultepec, and the citj' of Mexico. In Jul}-, 1S48, the}' returned 
with onh" thirt}--six men. Peace was proclaimed b}' President 
Polk Jul}' 4, 1S48. The military spirit seems to have lingered in 
Dayton long after the end of the war, and was kept up by 
reviews, sham-battles, and parades. The largest of these dem- 
onstrations was in 1858, when Governor Chase reviewed the Ohio 
troops at Dayton. 

The first telegraph message was received in Dayton September 
17, 1847. In the next few years other lines were built, which 
have since been consolidated, until now there are but two offices 
in the city. 

The population of Dayton in 1S48 was fourteen thousand. 

Houses were first lighted by gas in 1849, b^^t street lights came 
a little later. At present the city is well supplied with both gas 
and electric light. 

Curwen says, in 1S50 : "Dayton is on the natural route of the 

194 DAYTON FROM 1840 TO 1896 

great chain of railroads that are destined at an earl5' date to con- 
nect the extreme West with the Atlantic cities. The completion 
of the several lines of railroads now in process of construction 
and contemplated will afford a continuous chain from St. Louis 
to all the great commercial cities of the East. What has been 
done may be briefly stated. The Lake Erie & Mad River Rail- 
road [from Dayton to Sandusky] terminates here. Over this 
road there passed last year over one hundred and eight thousand 
people. The Dayton & Western Railroad [from Daj-ton to Rich- 
mond, Indiana] when completed will be one of the best roads 
in the countrj-. The road from Da^-ton to Greenville will be in 
operation early in 1S51." It is safe to sa}' that Mr. Curwen's 
predictions have been amplj- fulfilled. Dayton now has eleven 
railroads, which form parts of four great S5'stems. The period 
of which Curwen writes was also one of great prosperity- for the 
canals, which showed little diminution for the next ten j-ears. 

The first street-railroad was chartered in 1S69, as the "Dayton 
Street Railroad," though generallj' known as the "Third Street 
Railroad." Others followed rapidty until in 1S96 there are few 
parts of the city not reached b}' street-cars. Electricit}- has 
taken the place of horse-power on all but one road. 

After a discussion of several years the volunteer fire department 
in Da^'ton was succeeded bj- a paid force, and the first steam 
fire-engine was purchased in 1S63. Dayton now has one of the 
most eflicient and best-equipped fire departments in the country. 

At the spring election of 1S69 the question was put to the 
people whether water-works should be erected, and was answered 
in the afiinnative. On April i, 1S70, the water-works committee 
made a report to Council to the eflect that the machinery and 
fixtures placed in position were in successful operation, and up 
to and over the standard guaranteed b}- the companv ; from 
which time Dayton has been one of the most fortunate cities in 
her unfailing supply of pure, cold water. 

The Dayton Female Orphans' Association was incorporated in 
1S44. The first home, a small brick building on r^Iagnolia Street, 
was used xmtil the erection of the new one across the JMiami 
River. In 1S67 the commissioners of ^lontgonierv Countv deter- 
mined to take charge of the Da\-ton Orphan Asylum. A new 
home was built in Harrison Township and opened in 1S67. The 
num1)cr of children taken care of averages of late vears about 
a hundred. 


The Daj-ton Young Men's Christian Association had its origin 
in a great religious revival in 1S69 and 1S70, the object of the. 
association being "the ph3'sical, intellectual, social, and spirit- 
ual improvement of \'Oiing men." The first home of the asso- 
ciation was on the second floor of the Journal building, north of 
the Court-house. In the spring of 1S75 funds were raised, and the 
old Dunlevy residence, on Fourth Street, bought, remodeled, 
furnished, and occupied within a single month. A fine gym- 
nasium was opened in 1SS5, which onl}? demonstrated the need 
of greater facilities. In 1SS6 fifty-five thousand dollars were 
contributed towards a new building, which was at once begun, 
and dedicated in the following year. The propert}- is now valued 
at over one hundred thousand dollars, and the value of the work 
done for young men is inestimable. 

The Woxuan's Christian Association was organized in 1870. 
Encouraged by the success of the young men's association, and 
hoping to work in unison with them, their work has been 
crowned with even greater success than could have been 
hoped. The work is of varied character. A widows' home is 
sustained, and a woman's exchange operated. There are many 
committees for visiting the Soldiers' Home, the hospitals, the 
jail, and for missionary work. The da}' and night classes 
and lunches for working girls have been among the modern and 
successful experiments. The old Winters homestead on Third 
Street was bought in 1S91, and now forms the attractive and 
convenient home of the societj'. 

The Young Women's League, organized in 1S95, has a large 
membership — principally of working women — and a comfortable 
club-house, on Jefferson Street, south of Fifth. 

St. Elizabeth Hospital was started on Franklin Street, near 
Ludlow, in 1S7S, in a very modest way by two Sisters of the 
Poor of St. Francis. They soon found that there was a broad 
field for their work. IMore room was needed. The Sisters selected 
six acres of land in Browntown, which were purchased, and the 
corner-stone laid in 1881 for a large building. There, supported 
by voluntary contributions, they are quietly doing a noble work. 

The Protestant Deaconess Society of Dayton was organized 
in August, 1890. At first two or three deaconesses from Cin- 
cinnati nur.sed in private families. In October, 1891, a temporary 
hospital was opened on Fourth Street near vSt. Clair, under the 
direction of the society. Its usefulness j^roved that such a 

196 DAYTON PROM 1840 TO 1896 

hospital, home, and training-school for nurses was needed for 
the growing city. On Sunday, October 14, 1894, a new building 
was dedicated. It was built on the ground of the old Widows' 
Home, which had been bought and donated for the purpose by 
Mrs. J. H. Winters. Crowning an eminence overlooking the 
city, it stands "a stately and massive edifice, built for a noble 
cause and dedicated to it." "Behold," says Mr. Simonds, the 
president of the society, ' ' how great a matter a little fire kindleth. ' ' 

The Dayton Philharmonic Society was organized in 1S74, and 
has achieved a decided success. The INIozart Musical and Liter- 
ary Society was organized in 1888. There are also the Harmonia, 
the Young Men's Christian Association Orchestra, Maennerchor, 
and other musical societies. 

The Woman's Literary Club of Da3-ton was organized in 1S89. 
It has a limited membership, meets in the Woman's Christian 
Association parlors, and has been a pronounced success from 
the first daj'. A number of other woman's clubs have since 
been formed — the "H.H." Club, organized in 1891, the Friday 
Afternoon and Elmerson clubs of more recent date. 

The Present Day Club, formed in Jauuarj-, 1895, is an organ- 
ization composed of about three hundred representative men, 
who spend an evening everj' two weeks during the greater part 
of the j'ear in the discussion of important topics relating to 
social, literary, educational, religious, economic, and other 

In 1885 Professor J. A. Robert began the improvement of the 
land along the western levee, and, by filling and protecting it 
from the river by a fine wall, lias added a beautiful street to the 
cit5' from ]\Ionumeut Avenue to Fifth Street, finished in July, 

On the 22d of October, 1892, the Columbian Centennial was 
appropriately celebrated in Da^-ton by an immense procession 
of militarj' and civil societies, school-children, and industrial 
exhibits, followed bj' appropriate addresses and music in Cooper 

The manufacturing interests of Dayton have long been prom- 
inent. There has been a steady and substantial growth in the 
number and size of manufacturing establishments, until in 1S94, 
according to the report of the State Labor Statistician, the city 
ranked as the third in the State in number of industries, capital 
invested, and wages paid, and fourth in the value of its maun- 

FroiQ a phot&^aph bj Wolfe. 


DAYTON PROM 184O TO 1896 197 

factured products. ^Many of its establishments are very large, 
some employing from one to two thousand persons, and a number 
of them are known in almost every part of the globe. 

The stores, banks, building-associations, insurance companies, 
and other branches of trade conduct a large amount of business, 
and rank high in the commercial world. 

Within the last few years a complete sewer system has been 
projected and largely finished, and the principal streets of the 
city have been handsomel3r paved with asphalt, brick, sandstone, 
and granite ; and many of the residence streets have been parked 
by narrowing the roadway and making lawns along the borders 
of the sidewalks. These improvements, together with the large 
number of shade-trees which abound in the city, make the 
streets very attractive. 

In 18S9 natural gas was introduced in Dayton for fuel purposes. 
Although not sufficiently plenty to supply many factories, it has 
proved a great convenience to housekeepers. 

Dayton, since the earliest days, has seldom been left for any 
length of time without a newspaper. Ths Journal Vfa.s descended 
from a long line of plucky ventures. It was a Republican paper, 
ably conducted after 1835 by the Comlys. It had been a weekly and 
a triweekly, and in 1847 became a daily, and as such has continued 
to the present day, with a short interregnum after the burning of 
the oifice, presses, and materials by a mob in IMaj', 1863. Soon 
after this Major William D. Bickham took charge of and made 
the Journal into a paper of national reputation. jMr. Bickham 
was a bold and brilliant writer, an astute and enthusiastic politi- 
cian, a man whose death, in 1894, left a vacancy in political and 
newspaper circles difficult to fill. The Journal is now conducted 
by the sons of Mr. Bickham. 

In 1842 the Democratic party in Dayton was represented by the 
Western Empire. Some years later the Daily Empire was pub- 
lished irregularly, finally becoming a regular evening paper. It 
was continued until 1863, when the editor was arrested and the 
paper suppressed because of an article which it published in 
regard to the arrest of Vallandigham. A new paper was soon 
started, and has continued to the present day under the titles 
of Daily Ledger, Herald, Herald aiid Empire, Democrat, and 

The News is an afternoon daily issued from the same office as 
the Times. 


The Volks-Zeitung, started in 1866, has ahvaA's been an inde- 
pendent paper. 

The Daily Herald was started in 1S79 as an independent 

The Press, first issued in 1891, is a Republican afternoon paper. 

Including- the above, there are published in the city seventeen 
secular and thirt_v-t\vo religious periodicals, making- a total of 
forty-nine periodical publications. 

Among the men -svhose active business life made them -n-ell 
known in the j-ears preceding and following the \Var were several 
who should be mentioned at length in the historj- of these 
periods. The eldest of these was David Stout, who came to 
Da3-ton in 1812. He was a native of Pennsjdvania, and was 
seventeen j'ears old when he became a citizen of the growing 
town. He soon engaged in business for himself, and for nearl}- 
half a centur}' was activelj* interested in various lines of busi- 
ness, being the first man in the cit}' to engage in the sale of 
stoves. He was at one time a member of the Town Council, for 
twent}' 3-ears treasurer of the town and of the School Board, a 
director of the Cooper Cotton Factory and Dayton Carpet Com- 
pany, one of the organizers of the first public light compan}', 
treasurer of the Daj-ton Gas Light and Coke Company-, and 
a stockholder iu the Woodland Cemetery Association. On the 
corner where the Atlas Hotel now stands he built one of the 
first brick residences in Dayton, which remained unaltered until 
1S92. In 1S39 he moved into his new home on the northeast 
corner of Second and Perry streets, where he dispensed a liberal 
hospitalit}' during the Harrison convention iu 1S40, and in 1842, 
at the Henr3' Clay convention, entertained one hundred and 
eight guests over night and many more at dinner. David Stout 
was remarkable for his kindness and benevolence to individuals. 
He had eight children and numerous descendants, many of 
whom no-n' live in the cit\". Three of the children are now living 
and reside in Dayton — Hlias R., Atlas L., and David Orion. 

Another pioneer iu prominent business enterprises of the city, 
when once it began to extend its operations, was I\lr. Ebenezer 
Thresher, one of the first manufacturers of agricultural imple- 
ments and of railroad cars. ]Mr. Thresher had been born and 
brought up in Connecticut, receiving an extended education 
and entering the ministry in New Kngland. Failing health 
compelled him to relinquish other plans, and led him in 1S45 to 

DAYTON FROM 184O TO 1 896 I99 

come west to engage in business. With Mr. E. E. Barney and 
Mr. Packard, he organized in 1849 the firm of Threslier, Packard 
& Company, manufacturers of agricultural machinery, and soon 
after of railroad cars. This was the beginning of the great " Car 
Works ' ' which have helped to make Dayton known through- 
out the world. In 1S54 Mr. Thresher retired, founding later his 
varnish business. During the remainder of his long life, which 
continued till 18S6, he was prominent in religious and educa- 
tional circles, especiallj' in the enterprises of the Baptist Church, 
of which he had alwa5-s been an influential member. Two sons 
and two daughters are still residents of the cit}'. 

Much of the history of banking in Dayton centers around the 
name of ]\Ir. Valentine Winters. INIr. Winters came to Da3'ton 
from Germantown in 1825, and was employed in the drj'-goods 
store of Andrew Irwin, and later with Harshman & Rench, in 
which iirm he soon became a partner. He was prominent in the 
commercial circles of Daj'ton for a half-century, conducting at 
first a dry-goods and general merchandise store, and afterward 
engaging in banking. He was cashier of the Dayton Bank, 
organized in 1845, ^-nd afterward was one of the proprietors in 
the banks of Harshman, Winters & Companjr, V. Winters & 
Son, and the Winters National Bank. Mr. Winters was a mem- 
ber of the first board of directors of the Daj'ton & Western 
Railroad, and with his partners, Jonathan Harshman and E. F. 
Drake, constructed the first railroad in Minnesota, connecting 
St. Paul and Minneapolis. In 1839 he was foreman of the Safety 
Engine and Hose Company. In the War of the Rebellion he 
was a loyal supporter of the Government, and gave the assist- 
ance of his bank to the support of the finances of the State and 
Nation. Mr. Winters was a member of the Third Street Pres- 
byterian Church, and gave liberally to the Young Men's Chris- 
tian Association and Woman's Christian Association. In 1829 
he married Catharine Harshman, a daughter of Jonathan Harsh- 
man, and had eleven children, — four sons and seven daughters, 
— a number of whom, with their descendants, still live in the 

Another figure well known on our streets for nearly forty years 
was Mr. Frederick Gebhart. Mr. Gebhart came to T)ayton from 
Pennsylvania in 1838, being then forty years of age. He was 
soon after followed by his brothers Herman and George, whose 
business interests were closely allied to their brother's. In 1839 

200 DAYTON FROM 184O TO 1S96 

Mr. Gebhart opened a dry-goods store, removing a little later to 
the building on Third Street so long occupied by his successors, 
D. L,. Rika & Company. After a number of years he entered the 
linseed oil business, and until his death in 1878 was interested 
in enterprises which would add to the prestige of the city. The 
descendants of these three brothers form one of the large and 
influential families of the citj'. 

No history of Daj-ton would be complete that had not much 
to say of Robert AV. Steele. Ouiet student though he was, he 
touched the life of the place on every side, for he was a lover of 
men and of books, of his country' and home. He was born in 
1819 to a life of ease and all honorable traditions. He was the 
son of an earnest, self-reliant pioneer, who had been a merchant, 
a soldier when needed, trustee of the Presb3-terian Church, of 
Miami Universitj', and of the Dayton Academj', one of the 
founders of Woodland Cemetery-, president of the Da^-ton Bank 
for nearl}' forty j-ears, a judge for fourteen ^-ears, one of those 
chosen to cast the electoral vote of Ohio for Claj-, and who had 
died in the midst of a busy, active career. This was the example 
which the past gave to the j'oung man who was met at the 
threshold of manhood bj' the knowledge that such a life could 
not be his. He was prohibited by his physician from continuing 
the study of law. If he could not practice his profession, could 
not do his own work as he had planned, " Very well," he said to 
himself quietly and bravely, "I shall help others to do theirs"; 
and this, I take it, was the key-note to his life — he was a helper. 

"W'b(">over thou art -whose nood is groat, 
In tlic nanio of tlio all-conipassionate and lueroiful One I wait." 

Men and women went to the quiet studv where he loved to 
sit, with books climbing the walls around him, and usually 
came away comforted. The teachers learned to come, — the 
pupils, too, — for he was a member of the Board of Education 
for thirty years, and its president for twelve of them. He was 
one of the founders of the Library Association, and for years 
director and president. When the association was united with 
the Public Library, he was chairman of the Library Committee 
until he resigned in 1S75. I<ater he became a member of the 
reorganiz.ed Library Board, and served until his death. His love 
for books was the enthusiasm of his life. The feeling that other 
men put into business and professions he lavished upon these 

DAYTON FROM 184O TO 1896 201 

quiet friends. He knew a good book by instinct, was a fine 
critic, and a writer himself, having done considerable work for 
newspapers, and published numerous essays, and histories of 
the library, cemetery, public schools, and early Daj'ton. 

He was member and treasurer or president of every horticul- 
tural society of Dayton, as well as the Ohio State Board of 
Agriculture. He was interested in the early railroads centering 
in Dayton, and a subscriber to the stock of all of them but one. 

When the War of the Rebellion came, he felt deeply. Loving 
his country as he did, he served it well. If he could not fight 
himself, he could help the soldiers in a hundred ways ; he could 
care for the wives and children at home, and uphold the Govern- 
ment through the darkest days. He served on the Military 
Committee of Montgomery County, was a member of the San- 
itary Committee, and chairman of a Citizens' Committee. 

No reform or change for the better in his native city ever 
lacked the hearty S3'mpathy and cordial support of Robert 
Steele. He was an elder in the Third Street Presbyterian Church 
for forty years. He was secretary of the Woodland Cemetery 
Association, and its president when he died. He served five 
years as a member of the State Board of Charities. 

When death laid its touch on that kindly heart to still it, and 
men sorrowed to know they should meet that quaint figure no 
more ; when he lay asleep in the dear old home his father had 
built, and was carried over its threshold to the Woodland they 
had both tended and cared for, — who could say now which of 
the two men had done more for humanity ? 



The Opening ol the AVar — Fall of Sumter— Recruiting — Dayton Light 
Guards — Light Artillery — Lafayette Guards — Departure of Troops- 
Anderson Guards — Dayton Riflemen — Zouave Rangers — Buckeye Guard 
— State Guard — CampC'orwin — Camp Dayton — Families of Soldiers Cared 
For — Advancing Kirby Smith — R. C. Schenck Elected to Congress — Union 
League Formed — Arrest of Vallandigham — Journal Oifice Burned — ^lor- 
gan's Raid — Colonel King — Empire Office Mobbed — Procession of Wood- 
Wagons — Women's Work for tlie Soldiers — The Home-Guard — Return of 
Companies A and E — Another Call for Troops — Last Draft of the War — 
Lee's Surrender — Assassination of Lincoln — Admiral Schenck — Rear- 
Adiniral Greer — Paymaster IMcDaniel — 2\ational Military Home — Sol- 
diers' Monument. 

The War of the Rebellion did not come upon the countrj- like 
a sndden summer shower. The great clouds gathered slowlj', 
and hung dark and menacing long before the stonn broke. There 
were enough men of both parties in Dayton ^vho had accepted 
the decision of the people in the election of Mr. Lincoln to make 
it a cit_v sternly loyal and practically helpftil to the Government, 
3-et there were also many firm in their devotion to States' rights 
and bitter in their opposition to the war ; and the Third Ohio 
District was represented by a man who had proclaimed as his 
position that "if any one or more of the States of the Union 
should at an}' time secede, for reasons of the sufficiency and 
justice of which before God and the great tribunal of historj' 
they alone may judge, nitich as I sliotild deplore it, I never 
would, as a Representative in Congress, vote one dollar of mone}- 
whereby one drop of American blood should be shed in a civil 
war." So there was a season of suspense; the people waited 
with bated breath ; men e\cd one another with grave distrust. 
With vSouthern confidence at its height, and Xorthern courage 
at lis lowest point, l\Ir. Lincoln began his jottrnev to Washing- 
ton. The people, waiting for a sign, watched the quiet progress, 
read the tender words to the South, the strong and temperate 
inaugural, and of the refusal to recognize the Southern commis- 


sioners. They also read events, and began to see the patience 
and self-control, the grand courage and wisdom, of their leader, 
who, as is now clear, "came as one appointed to a great dutj', not 
with rashness, not with weakness, not with bravado, nor shrink- 
ing, but in the perfect coniidence of a just cause, and with the 
stainless conscience of a good man." 

When Sumter fell, the excitement in Dayton was painful in its 
intensit}'. The people were full of just wrath, and eager to 
avenge the insult to the flag. If there was a citizen who had 
not heard the news, he read it in the morning paper with the 
proclamation calling for seventy-five thousand men beside it. 
Recruiting was begun at once. Four days later three companies 
were starting for Columbus — the Dayton Light Guards, Captain 
Pease; Light Artillery, Captain Childs, and the Lafaj'ette Guards, 
Captain Deister, inarching to the train through great, cheering 
crowds, anxious to show that for once all were united to defend 
the countr3^ The men who had been loyal by reason of intelli- 
gence, judgment, and expediency experienced a new feeling as 
the hot wave of enthusiasm swept over the land. On the iSth 
of April Colonel E. A. King was appointed to take charge of 
the camp at Columbus. On the same day the Anderson Guards 
opened recruiting lists. By the next night sixtj'-four men had 
enrolled and the company organized and left the next morning. 
The streets were crowded with people, singing "The Star- 
Spangled Banner," cheering and waving handkerchiefs and 
flags ; and it must be confessed there were tears among the 
women as they took up their heavy task of watching and 
waiting and working. The men filed out of the annorj^ through 
the shouting crowd, and soon another hundred had gone, mak- 
ing almost five hundred men (four hundred and eighty-five) in 
answer to the first call for three months' volunteers. 

Upon their arrival at Columbus, the first three Dayton com- 
panies were assigned to the First Regiment Ohio Volunteer 
Infantrj-. This regiment was ordered and started to Washington 
April 19, had its first fight at Vienna, and covered itself with 
glorj' at Bull Run. The Daj-ton Riflemen and Anderson Guards 
were ordered to Camp Jackson, and later assigned to the Eleventh 
Ohio Volunteer Infantry and sent to help construct Camp Den- 
nison, where they were kept drilling for six or seven weeks. 

In June Company A (the Riflemen) reenlisted for three years. 
Part of Company G reenlisted and part returned to Dayton. 

204 DAYTON FROM 184O TO 1S96 

These were busj-, unselfish daj'S for those at home. The doc- 
tors offered their services free to families of volunteers, and the 
druggists offered to fill prescriptions without charge. The sum 
of five thousand dollars was quickl3' raised for immediate wants. 
The Board of County Commissioners and the Cit}^ Council each 
appropriated ten thousand dollars for the soldiers' families. 
Other large sums of money were constantly coming in. All 
sorts of donations were made. The ladies' societies went to work 
with a will. jSTo one was too old or too j^oung to work in some 

The Zouave Rangers tendered their ser^-ices as a home-guard, 
were accepted, and ser\'ed for three months. The Buckeye 
Guard was in camp at Hamilton for a few weeks, came back to 
fill up their regiment for three years' service, and returned within 
ten da3'S. Captain Gunckel raised a company-, which was 
ordered to Camp Dennison ^Nlay 19. On the 22d of April, at 
Harrisburg, Lieutenant A. ilcD. IMcCook, of the Regular Armj', 
was elected colonel of the First Ohio Regiment, E. A. Parrott 
lieutenant-colonel, and Captain J. S. Hughes major. On the 
evening of May 11 the people were listening to the farewell 
concert of the Regimental Band, who were to be thereafter 
musicians of the First Ohio Regiment. 

Immediatel3' after the departure of the three months' troops in 
April, militia companies were formed. Each ward had its com- 
pany of home-guards. There was also the State Guard, composed 
of men over forty-five ^-ears of age. 

Through the summer of 1S61 Dayton was full of soldiers. 
Little else was thought of Camp Corwin was located two and a 
half miles east of the city. On the 23d of August the first three 
companies of the First Ohio, — Dayton men, — and a little later 
the Da3'ton Cavalr3-, were ordered there. On August 20 a com- 
pany marched in from the northern part of the count3' and 
camped in the F'air Grounds. In October the Government gave 
notice that it could not furnish blankets for the First Ohio. In 
a week they had been provided by the citizens of Dayton and the 
regiment was on its way to join General :McCook's brigade and 
Camp Corwin was abandoned. During the month of August 
there were fourteen recruiting ofHces opened in Dayton. Bv the 
29th of the month Da3'ton had sent one thousand two hundred 
and sixty-nine men to the front, out of an enrollment of three 
thousand one hundred and seventeen. 



It is not possible in a few pages to follow all the Dayton 
soldiers through the war. Wherever brave men were needed 
they went gladly, and saw their share of service in Kentucky, 
Tennessee, and later on in the Shenandoah Vallej' and moun- 
tains of Virginia, with Grant before Richmond, with Thomas at 
Nashville, and marching through Georgia with Sherman. 

The 3-ear 1S62 was a dark one for the national cause. Recruit- 
ing for the Ninety-third began in July of that year. In it were 
four Dayton companies. Charles Anderson became the colonel 
and Hiram Strong lieutenant-colonel. Great interest was felt in 
this regiment in Dayton. Ten thousand dollars were raised at 
one meeting of the citizens in July as a fund for the families of 
volunteers. The rendezvous for the Ninety-third was Camp 
Daj'ton, afterwards located at the Fair Grounds. The regiment 
was ordered to Lexington, Kentucky, and left Da3-ton August 
23. In September the camp rapidlj' filled up, and it was again 
necessarj' to suppl}' the soldiers with blankets and clothing. 
There were also at that time five hundred families of volunteers 
dependent partly or entirelj^ upon the public for means of sup- 

The advance of Kirby Smith towards Cincinnati thoroughly 
aroused Dayton. The Governor called out the militia of the river 
counties. All armed men who could be in readiness by the 4th 
of September would be accepted by General Wallace. Da3'ton 
was urged to send to Cincinnati bj' that day every man who 
could get away. In answer to these appeals, each ward raised 
at least one company for the defense of the State. Men came 
from all parts of the State, with all kinds of arms, and in all 
sorts of dress, so that they were called the "Squirrel-Hunters." 
Kirby Smith retreated southward, and these soldiers never knew 
what they might have done. One effect of this rush of citizen 
soldiers to the front was the postponement of the draft which 
had been ordered, first to the middle of September, then to the 
ist of October, by which time Daj-ton had been able to fill up 
her quota. 

The next excitement was over the election to Congress of 
General Robert C. Schenck from the Third Ohio District. 

A Union League was formed in Daj-ton in March, 1S63. Much 
had been done in Dayton since the war began for the support of 
the families of the soldiers. All sorts of entertainments were 
given and money was raised in everj' possible waj-. The various 


ladies' aid societies did noble work through, the winters of 1S62 
and 1S63. In April, 1863, there was an immense procession into 
Dayton of farm wagons loaded with wood and provisions brought 
by the farmers as their donation to the relief committee for the 
soldiers' families. 

On the 5th of Ma}-, 1S63, IMr. Vallandigham was arrested by 
order of General Burnside and taken to Cincinnati to be tried 
b}' a military commission for violation of "General Order No. 
3S," in which occurred this statement: "The habit of declaring 
sj'mpathy for the enemy will no longer be tolerated in this 
department. Persons committing such offenses will at once be 
arrested with a view to being tried as above stated, or sent 
beyond our lines into the lines of their friends. It must be 
distinctly understood that treason, expressed or implied, will 
not be tolerated in this department." The arrest of INIr. Vallan- 
digham ensued, and it was followed the next night bv the burn- 
ing of the Joicrnal office bj- a mob. Daj'ton was at once placed 
under martial law b}' order of General Burnside, and remained 
so until the 21st of June. 

Each ward of the cit}' was divided on the 9th of July into three 
districts, each of which was obliged to organize a company of 

If there was a man in Dayton who had not felt a personal 
interest in the war, he must have come to his senses when told 
on Jul}^ 13 that General ^lorgan was within a day's march of 
the cit}-. ^Martial law was at once proclaimed by the 3Iayor. 
All of the original militia was called out by the GovenKir and 
ordered to Camp Dennison. Dayton sent two companies. IMajor 
Keith started at midnight lor Hamilton with two companies of 
infantr_v. Such other citizens as had horses and guns ortj-anized 
as scouts to patrol the roads. The six months' cavalry recruits 
went in pursuit of and captured lifteen of the raiders. The men 
at home threw out pickets and patroled the suiTounding country. 
As it happened, Jlorgan's men did not come near Davton until 
the 27tli of the montli, wlun six car-loads of them passed throu>^-li 
the city as prisoners. 

Colonel King, a gallant soldier of two wars, who was killed 
while commanding a brigade in the second day's battle of Chicka- 
mauga, and whose body, lashed to a caisson, had been brought 
from the field by his soldiers, was buried from his home in 
Dayton with military hoiuirs on the last day of January, 1S64. 


During the earl}- months of 1864 most of the regiments in 
which Dayton men had enlisted reenlisted for three years longer 
and were at home on furloughs. An incident about this time 
was the mobbing of the Empire office by a few soldiers at home 
on leave. On the nth of i\Iay another draft occurred. Dayton 
had filled her quota excepting in one ward. Before the men 
were ordered to rejiort, that ward also secured the reqtiisite num- 
ber of recriiits. 

There was another grand procession of wood-wagons in Octo- 
ber, 1863. They brought in three hundred and twenty-five loads 
of wood and fifty-six wagons of farm produce. The boj'S of 
Dayton organized companies to saw and split the wood for the 
soldiers' families. In the fall of 1S63 preparations began for a 
grand soldiers' fair bj' all tlie ladies' aid societies. It was 
opened the night before Christmas, and was a brilliant success, 
artistically, sociallj^, and financiall}'. The total receipts amounted 
to almost twentjf thousand dollars. 

In the first daj'S of the war the women took up their task with 
cheerful enthusiasm. They were proud and smiling when the 
soldiers marched away carrying the banners they had fashioned. 
The\' made shirts and prett}' pin-cushions, held fairs and bazaars, 
fed the hungr}' troops as thej' passed through the citj', and un- 
consciouslj' made out of the early days of impatient waiting and 
drilling in Camp Da3-ton bright memories for camjj-fires and 
lonely marches. Thej' learned to do without many a dear face 
and many a helping hand. But when the call came to be for 
bandages and lint — when the talk was more of hospital than 
of camp — the work went on, but it was often done in the shadow 
of a great terror, with brave, trembling hands. And when one 
soldier after another came home to die, or limping back on 
crutches, or with an empty sleeve, — when "killed" was written 
after names like Strong, King, Bruen, Forrer, and Birch, the 
tragedy' of war stood revealed. 

The professional and bvisiness men, who had organized as a 
home-guard, were surprised one fine morning in April (the 
25tli), 1S64, to find themselves under orders from Governor 
Brough to take the field for one hundred days. Colonel Lowe at 
once summoned his regiment — the Second — to rendezvous at the 
Fair Grounds. The Twelfth Regiment was called to the same 
place. They left Dayton on the nth and 12th of j\Iay for Camp 
Chase, where the two regiments were consolidated under Colonel 

20S DAYTON FROM 184O TO 1 896 

Lowe and ordered to Baltimore for garrison dutj- in the United 
States forts near that cit}'. After three months of faithful service 
they were ordered back to Camp Chase, and mustered out on 
August 25. 

The first veterans to return to Dayton after three years' ser\'- 
ice were Company A, Eleventh Ohio, and Companj' E, Twenty- 
fourth Ohio regiments. They came June 27, 1864, — a handful 
of men, but their welcome home was an ovation. In July the 
President called for five hundred thousand volunteers. On the 
20th of the month Governor Brougli called for twentj' new 
regiments from the State of Ohio. It thus again became the 
dutv of Daj-ton to raise her quota. Large bounties were offered, 
and every effort made to avoid a draft ; still four wards failed to 
secure their proportion. After the draft (September 21 ), money 
was raised and substitutes enlisted. On the 19th of December 
the President called for three hundred thousand more men. The 
bounties offered were very high, and enlistments quite brisk 
from this time. The quota of some of the wards not being quite 
full, the draft of the war \vas made INIarch 30, 1865. 

Those who had watched through dark days and long, storni}^ 
nights, saw the clouds beginning to break and the tide of victory' 
setting in. With Farragut in IMobile Bay, Sherman in Atlanta, 
Grant before Richmond, and Sheridan dashing through the 
Shenandoah Vallej', the country could but join in the "high 
hope for the future" wdiicli ^Ir. Lincoln guardedlv expressed in 
his second inaugural address. It had been long vears since 
Dayton had dared to be so happy as on the night of April 9, 
when the news of Lee's surrender was shouted through the 
streets bj- eager voices, and carried on the air as far as roaring 
cannon and ringing bells could take it. The war was over. 
Governor Brough set aside the 14th of the month as a da}- of 
thanksgiving. This was grandly celelirated in Dayton by 
services in the churches, a procession containing veterans with 
their tattered flags, and li>- fireworks and illuminations. The 
next morning brought the news that Lincoln was shot. The 
people were dumb with grief; the flags that had flaunted so 
proudly the day before now hung at half-mast, and festoons of 
black took the place of gay devices on public and private build- 
ings. On the 19th of the month religious services were held in 
honor of the dead President. 

D.iyton enlisted very few men for the na^'5', but she has some 

the soldiers monument, and apartment house un the site of 
newcom's tavern. 


names in the register that cannot be forgotten. Admiral James F. 
Schenck — "the old Admiral," as he came to be called — was a 
unique character. He entered the United States Navy as mid- 
shipman in 1825. He came to Dayton in 1836, and bought a house 
for his famil}^ on the corner of First and Ludlow streets, an old- 
fashioned, comfortable home, where the children came to play in 
the shady garden, rolling down the hill at the side, or Ij'ing idle 
in the long grass, alwaj'S undisturbed and quite welcome. When 
the owner came from a cruise in the West Indies, in the JMediter- 
ranean, or to the Sandwich Islands, the coast of Africa, China, 
Japan, or Brazil, the little front yard was scarcely large enovigh 
for the friends who loved to gather between the wide-open door 
and the gate that never shut and listen through long summer 
evenings to tales of other lands and people, seen with shrewd 
e3'es and told with drj-, caustic wit in original and characteristic 
language. In 1S45 Lieutenant Schenck joined the Congress, on 
•which he served at the capture of Los Angeles, Santa fiarbara, 
and San Pedro, California. He also participated in the capture 
of Guaymas and Mazatlan, Mexico, and was commended for effi- 
cient ser\'ice in the INIexican War. In 1862 Captain Schenck took 
command of the frigate St. Laivrence, and joined the blockading 
squadron at Key West. In 1864 Commodore Schenck hoisted his 
flag on board the Powhatan and led a division of the squadron at 
the bombardment of Fort Fisher. He was made rear-admiral in 
1868, and placed upon the retired list in the following year. 
Admiral Schenck died at his home in Dayton on the 21st of 
December, 18S2. 

Rear-Admiral Greer, who retired at the head of the navj' in 
Februarj-, 1S95, was a Da3'ton man who sailed in many waters 
and saw manj- lands, from Africa to Greenland, from China to 
the Mediterranean. He fought through the war, assisting in the 
removal of Mason and Slidell from the Trent, commanding two 
ironclads and leading a division of Admiral Porter's squadron 
past Vicksburg, and also serving on the Red River expedition. 

Paj'master Charles A. McDaniel died in Dayton in February, 
1894. He left college to enter the army, in which he served 
through the early j'ears of the war. Later he entered the navy, 
in which he had made an honorable record and manj' friends, 
when in the prime of life he faced suffering and death with the 
patience and quiet courage of a brave man. 

At the close of the war there were hospitals in many of the 



large cities where wounded soldiers received the tenderest and 
raost skillful care. That these might be continued on a broader, 
more enduring basis, the soldiers' homes were devised and incor- 
porated under an act of Congress. The committee appointed by 
the Board of Managers to select a site for the Central Branch 
reported April ii, 1867, recommending that offered by Dayton. 
Dayton was decided upon and four hundred acres bought about 
two miles west, on high ground overlooking the city, the citizens 
contributing twenty thousand dollars to the purchase. Bj- De- 
cember, 1867, the place was ready for occupation, General 
Ingraham being detailed as acting governor, and during the first 
j-ear one thousand two hundred and fift}- disabled soldiers were 
cared for. The first gift to the new home was that of a fine librarj' 
and pictures given b}- Jlrs. jNIary Lowell Putnam in memory , 
of her son, who fell at Ball's Bluff. After the barracks the first 
necessity was a hospital. Year b}- year handsome buildings were 
added, new land was bought, and the grounds artistically laid 
out, until now the Home is not onlj* fulfilling its mission of 
grateful and loving protection of disabled soldiers, but has also 
become one of the most beautiful spots in the countn;'. It is 
connected with Dayton b}- pleasant drives and b}" steam and 
electric roads. The Home was visited last year by over three 
hundred and fiftj^ thousand people. The number of men cared 
for in the past year was six thousand seven hundred and thirtj-- 

The Home has been fortunate in its governors — Colonel 
Brown, whose occasional visits are hailed with delight by the 
men who were under his care for 3-ears; General Patrick, who 
died at his post, like the grand old soldier he was ; and Colonel 
Thomas, whose administration is making its own record of wise 
and carefukmanagement. 

The homes contain more inmates and are more needed everv 
year, as the soldiers of thirt5' j-ears ago grow to be old men ; 
but the death-rate also increases, the ratio of deaths per thousand 
of number cared for being, in the past year, 47.65, and the senti- 
nel on the beautiful monument in the cemetery watches over 
long rows of head-boards that must represent regiments. 

Before the close of the war a monument in Dayton to her 
fallen heroes was talked of. Several committees were appointed, 
but it was not until after the organization of the Old Guard that 
much could be accomplished. This organization of veterans 


made a valiant effort. Finally, it was suggested that a law, 
raising the money by taxation, might be secured through the 
Legislature, subject to the approval of the people. General T. J. 
Wood, who was himself one of the bravest of soldiers, and had 
led his men through many bloody battles, who felt an interest in 
all soldiers and in his adopted city, was chairman of the trustees. 
He, assisted by Mr. D. B. Corwin, drafted a bill which, made 
more general, became a law on the 8th of April, 1881. This law 
was endorsed at the following October election. The contract 
was awarded in June, 1883, and the beautiful monument at the 
comer of Main and Water streets (now Monument Avenue) was 
dedicated with ceremony on the occasion of the soldiers' and 
sailors' reunion on the last day of Jul}', 1884, as "the memorial 
of Montgomery County to her soldiers." 


ISRAKL Ludlow was born at Long Hill, INIorris Count3', New 
Jersey-, in 1766. He was the youngest son of Cornelius Ludlow, 
who was a lieutenant-colonel in a New Jersey troop in the War 
of the Revolution. The family was of English descent, the 
ancestor coming from Hill Deverill, in Wilshire, England, to 
this country in the seventeenth century. 

In 1787, when !Mr. Ludlow was twenty-one or twenty-two 
years of age, he received the following letter from the Surveyor- 
General of the United States : 

"To Israel Ludlow, Esq. 

' ' Dear Sir : I enclose to 3-ou an ordinance of Congress of 
the 20th inst., b}' which 3'ou will observe the}' have agreed to 
the sale of a large tract of land which the New Jersey Society 
have contracted to purchase. As it will be necessary to survey 
the boundary of this tract with all convenient speed, that the 
United States may receive the pa3-ment for the same, I propose 
to appoint 3'ou for that purpose, being assured of 3'our abilities, 
diligence, and integrit3'. I hope 3'ou will accept it, and desire 
that 3-ou will furnish me with an estimate of the expense, and 
inform lue what moneys will be necessary to advance to you to 
enable you to execute the same. 

"I am, m3' dear sir, 

" Tho. Hutchins, 
"Surveyor-General, U. S." 

He accepted his appointment, and received his instructions and 
an order on the frontier post for a sufScient escort to enable him 
to prosecute the surve3' ; but the extreme weakness of the mili- 

iMost of the material for the following sketch is taken from a memoir 
of Charlotte Chambers (llrs. Israel Ludlow), written by her grandson Louis 
Garrard in LS.56, and has been kindly furnished by Mr. William S. Ludlow, of 
Cincinnati, Ohio, a grandson of Colonel Ludlow. The greater portion of 
"Early Dayton " being already in type when the information was received, 
the insertion of this sketch near the end of the volume was made necessary. 
The proniinence of Colonel Ludlow in the early history of the Miami region 
as well as in the founding of Dayton, renders the account here given espe- 
cially valuable. It is regretted that no portrait of the Colonel is in existence. 



tarj^ force then in the Northwest, and the dangerous dutj- upon 
which he was emplo3'ed, caused General Harmar to write that he 
regretted to be unable to comph* with the directions, on account 
of the small force at his command ; and, further, that if he were 
able to furnish the guards, it would be imprudent for Colonel 
Ludlow to go into the countr3- which he was to sur\'e3', as at that 
time there were large numbers of Indians hunting there at that 
season, and that the survej- would have to be deferred until the 
result of a treat}' which was then being made was known. This 
reply was sent from Fort Harmar, August 2S, 17SS. 

"The survej'S prescribed b}' the instructions of Hutchins in 
1787 were prosecuted notwithstanding the hostilitj' of the sav- 
ages and the deficiencj' of escort, but with the inevitable delaj' 
attending the movements of small parties where precautions 
from danger so materially engross the attention." 

The following letter to General Hamilton explains the slow 
progress of the survej*, and presents in a striking manner scenes 
of pioneer exposure and hardship : 

"Philadelphia, ^Maj- 5, 1792. 

"Sir: The unexpected delays that have attended mv execut- 
ing the surveys of the Ohio and ^vlianii companies, together with 
your letters which I have received from time to time, urging my 
speedj- exertions to effect the business, induces nie to explain to 
j-ou the cause of the delaj-. 

"In November, 1790, I was honored with your letter of in- 
struction at this place. I proceeded immediateh' to Fort Har- 
mar, being possessed of General Knox's letter or order to the 
commandant for an escort. On mj- waj-, at Fort Pitt, I saw 
Major Doughty, who, after becoming acquainted with nu" busi- 
ness, informed me that there was no doubt but that an' escort 
would be furnished on my arrival at Fort Harmar, iipon which I 
supplied myself with chain-carriers and other hands necessary, 
packhorses, corn, provision, and camp equipage for the approach- 
ing cold season. 

"On my arrival at Fort Harmar I found that no escort could 
be obtained. INIajor Zeigler, who commanded, gave me his 
answer in writing, which was that he did not consider the troops 
then under his command more than suflicieut to guard the settle- 
ment of ]Marietta, the Indians having shortlv before that defeated 
and broken up one of their frontier stations! Of course he could 
not comply with the order of General Knox and my request. (A 
copy of that letter I inclosed to }-ou.) Upon tha't information, 
from necessity I gave up the pursuit at that time, and proceeded 
to Fort Wasliington, supposing I could execute the INIiami sur\ey. 

"Discharging my hired men and packhorses, I applied "to 
General Harmar who then commanded, for protection while 


surveying the Miami tract. He informed me he did not con- 
sider his whole command a sufficient escort for my purpose. (A 
copy of his answer I forwarded to you.) On the arrival of 
General St. Clair in May following, I made an official applica- 
tion for fifteen men or more, should it be convenient, to accom- 
pany me as an escort while surveying the Miami and Ohio 
tracts. He assured me that he considered the execution of this 
survey a matter of the highest interest and importance to the 
United States, and that he would make ever}' effort to assist me 
with a sufficient guard, but that it was then impracticable. ( His 
letter I will forward to 3'ou.) Thus the business was again put 
off until the 20th of October following, when I was favored with 
the services of fifteen men, commanded bj' a sergeant, with 
whom I proceeded to execute the Ohio Company's survey. I 
succeeded, and returned to Fort Washington, but with the loss of 
six of the escort, and leaving in the woods all my packhorses 
and their equipage, and being obliged to make a raft of logs to 
descend the Ohio as far as Limestone from opposite the mouth 
of the Great Sandy River. 

"On ni}- arrival at Fort Washington I again applied for pro- 
tection to proceed in the Miami survey. That assistance was 
refused bj- Major Zeigler, who then commanded. (His letter I 
will produce.) Mj^ reputation, as well as the public good, being 
in some measure affected bj' the delay of the business, I was con- 
strained to have recourse to an effort which my instruction did 
not advise, viz. : to attempt making the survey by the aid of 
three active woodsmen ^ — -to assist as spies and give notice of any 
approaching danger. Mj' attempts proved unsuccessful. After 
extending the western boundary more than one hundred miles 
up the jMiami River, the deep snows and cold weather rendered 
our situation too distressing, by reason of my men having their 
feet frozen and unfit to furnish game for supplies. In conse- 
quence, we returned to Fort Washington. The cold weather 
abating, I made another attempt, extending the east boundary 
as far as the line intersected the Little INIiami River, where we 
discovered signs of the near approach of Indians, and having 
but three armed men in company, induced me to return again 
to Fort Washington, which I found commanded by General Wil- 
kinson, to whom I applied for an escort, which was denied me. 
(His letter I have the honor to inclose to you with the others.) 

"I now have the satisfaction to present to you the whole of 
the survey of the Ohio and part of the Miami purchases, exe- 
cuted agreeably to instructions. Any further information that 
may be required respecting the causes of delay of the above 
business, I presume ma}' be had from Generals vSt. Clair and 
Harmar, who are now here present. 

"I am, sir, yours respectfullj-, 

"Israel Ludlow. 

"Hon. Alex. Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury." 


In tlie winter of 1789 he became associated with Matthias Den- 
ham and Robert Patterson in the proprietorship of the future 
Cincinnati to the extent of one-third interest, and proceeded to 
lay out the town. In September, 1794, he surv'ej'ed the plat of a 
town adjacent to Fort Hamilton, and was sole owner. In Augnst, 
1795, Generals St. Clair, Wilkinson, and Daj-ton, and Colonel 
Ivudlow purchased from John Cleves Symmes the seventh and 
eighth ranges of land between the two Miamis, including the 
site of Daj'ton, and in November of the same j-ear Colonel 
Ivudlow laid out the town of Dajiion, naming it after one of his 
associates. He was also the owner of a large extent of land in 
the vicinity, on the banks of Mad and Miami rivers. He was 
commissioned to fix the boundary line between the United States 
and the Indians in accordance with the treat}' of Greenville, 
made bj' General Wa3'ne in 1795. This was done in 1797. 

Colonel Ludlow was married in 1796, at Chambersburg, Penn- 
sylvania, to Charlotte, daughter of General James Chambers. 
His death occurred at his residence, at that time a,short distance 
outside of Cincinnati, but now included in the city, Januarj' 20, 
1804, when he was but thirtj^-eight years of age. He was buried 
in the Presbj'terian burjang-ground at Public Square, Cincinnati, 
which was bounded bj- Fourth, Fifth, Main, and Walnut streets. 
Twice his remains were removed — for the second and last time 
in November, 1S95, and were then interred in Spring Grove Cem- 
eterj', which had once been a part of his countrj- residence. 

"The shock created bj' the announcement of his death could 
be understood only in the new district, where the sparseness of 
population and communit}- of interests and friendship rendered 
conspicuous a valuable man, and his loss deep-seated and seem- 
ingly irreparable. The inhabitants joined the ^Masonic Fratemitj' 
in paying a closing tribute of respect to his memorj-. An ora- 
tion was pronounced by the Hon. T. Svmmes." 

Mr. Ludlow was not permitted to witness the wonderful results 
of the enterprise to the forwarding of which his untiring indus- 
try was directed. That he had a prescience of its importance 
is shown by his large entries of land, now noted for its great 
fertility and value. The selection of town sites when the terri- 
tory was an unbroken forest, and where intimate knowledge of 
soil, timber, and natural outlet of country is necessan,' to eminent 
success, entitles him to no little credit for sound judgement and 
discriminating foresight. ISIodesty was a well-known trait of 


liis character. With an ej^e quick to discern, and energj^ to have 
applied, every measure conducing to the prosperity of the ter- 
ritory and city whose early progress was the adumbration of 
speedy greatness, he was himself indiflFereijt to his own political 
advancement, and willing to wait at least until the fulfillment 
of his present plans. Thus it is that, without legislative record 
of the facts, his name is not known in a manner commensurate 
with his services to the infant colony and the youthful State. 
His is not an anomalous case. The unwritten history of every 
community illustrates the point that the most valuable men are 
not always, and indeed but seldom, in office. Israel Ludlow was 
not a politician in the clamorous sense of the term. He was a 
man for the times in which he lived, and possessed a peculiar 
fitness for the extended sphere of his influence. The absence 
of such men in the necessitous condition of a struggling settle- 
ment explains the cause of premature decay and failure : their 
presence constitutes the mainspring of progress, the encouraging 
support of first puny eifort, until accumulated strength affords 
the power of self-propulsion. He lived in a day when a citizen 
found in the extension of aid to the impoverished emigrant and 
his suffering family ample scope for the exercise of the most 
generous heart-impulses. To him they could turn as a safe 
adviser and a substantial friend without fear of neglect. His 
life was illustrated by a series of practical benevolences, free 
from ostentation and the laudation of scarcely other than the 
recipients of his disinterested kindness. 



Copyright, 1896 

By W. J. Shtjey, Publishek 

AU rights reserved 




Dayton, the county-seat of Montgomery County, Ohio, is located on both 
banks of the Great Miami River, at the confluence of Stillwater, Mad River, 
and Wolf Creek with the Miami, and on the line of the Miami and Erie 
Canal, sixty miles north-northeast of Cincinnati, and seventy-one miles west 
hy south of Columbus. Its latitude is thirty-nine degrees forty-four minutes 
north, and' its longitude is eighty-four degrees eleven minutes west from 
Greenwich, or seven degrees eleven minutes west from "Washington. It is an 
important station on eleven railroads, which belong to four great systems, 
namely : The Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis and the Dayton 
& "Western, of the Pennsylvania Lines; the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago 
& St. Louis and the Dayton & Union, of the "Big Four" System; the Cin- 
cinnati, Hamilton & Dayton, the Dayton & Michigan, the Cincinnati, Dayton 
& Ironton, and the Cincinnati, Dayton & Chicago, of the C, H. & D. System; 
the New York, Pennsylvania &. Ohio, of the Erie System; the Dayton, 
Lebanon & Cincinnati Railroad, and the Home Avenue Railroad. Thirty- 
six hard-graveled roads radiate in all directions from the city, with an 
aggregate length of over six hundred miles. The extreme dimensions of 
Dayton are: east and west, five and one-eighth miles; north and south, three 
and one-half miles. Its area is about ten and three-quarters square miles. 



(Compiled from latest reports.) 


Elected for two years; ex officio president of Board of Police Directors and 
Board of Health, and organizes the City Council; appoints the Board of City 
Affairs, the Tax Commission, Board of Work-House Directors, and Board of 


Four members; term of office four years, one being appointed each year 
by the Mayor; powers executive. 


..About 86. 






..Five families. 








. . 10,976. 













Sixteen members, elected from eight wards by the voters ol the wards ; 
term of office two years, halt expiring each year; powers legislative. 

Measures Involving expenditure and public franchises must be approved 
by both City Council and Board of City Affairs. 


Four members, appointed by the Mayor, one secretary. 


8ix members, elected by the City Council. 


City clerk, elected by the Council; treasurer, elected by the people; comp- 
troller, solicitor, engineer, sealer of weights and mea.sures, market-master, 
superintendent of levees, appointed by the Board of City Affairs; wood- 
ineasurer, elected by the people. 


Board of Education. — .Sixteen members, elected for two years from eight 
wards by the voters of the wards, half being elected each year. 

Officers and Tcach/ns. — Clerk, superintendent of instruction, superintend- 
entof buildings, truant officer, city board of examiners with three members, 
twenty principals, twenty-five High School teachers, three Normal School 
teachers, two Manual-Training School teachers, four special teachers, 2.51 
district-schoolteachers; total number of teachers, .30-5. 

Enumera/ion of School Youth ( Between six and twenty-one years of age). — 
Public schools, 10,9130; private schools, 2tO; church schools, '2,\^C\ not attend- 
ing, 7,270; grand total, 20,578. 

JVumljer of Pupils in Public Schooh. — Di.^trict schools, .3,11.^ boys, .3,0.:;7 girls, 
or a total of 10,180; High School, 297 boys, -171 girls, or a total of 771 ; Normal 
School, .31; grand total, 10,982. In Manual-Training School, -13 pupils from the 
High School and 70 pupils from the eighth grade of the district schools; 
total, 121. 

(Sc/iofifa-.— Nineteen district schools, one high school, one manual-training 
school, one normal school, two night grammar-schools, two night drawing- 

7)»i7(;/)ii7.s.— Twenty-nine district buildings, including annexes, one high- 
school building, one library building. Total value in 189.3, 51,209,416.50; in- 
cluding personal property, $l,:e),523..50. Value of High .School: lot, JOO.tXXl; 
building, 82ri.3,0OO; per.sonal property, Sll,.338; total, S.'!2fi,:t3S. 

Finances.— Keeeipts, exclusive of temporary loans and bonds, for the year 
ending August 31, 189.3, $;ut,; expenses, exclusive of bonded debt and 
tcmporar\' loans, 5^333,700.81; bonded debt, August ol, l.Stl.5, S^S3,(H)0. 


Board of six members, elecU'd hylbc Board of Kducation; librarian, cat- 
aloguer, five library assistants; occupies a Hue stone library building, lire- 
proof, erected in (^ooper Park in 18S(U87. and valued at SIOO.OOO; contains 
:ri,.325 volumes and I,2<I2 pamphlets; card ami printed catalogues; museum 
attached; expenses, 1894-9.3, S10,8:!ii..3o, of whb'li S2,li01.70 was spent for the 
purchase of books and periodicals, and Sl,094.03 for the museum. 


F01.ICE i>epaktme:xt. 

Organization. — Mayor and four police tlirectors, secretary, police judge, 
clerk of the police court, superiuicndent, captain, five sergeants, detective 
sergeant, surgeon, seventy-tive patrolmen i, eight mounted l, tTvo turnkeys, 
court baililT, two telephone operators, one police matron. 

Headquarters,— In City Building. 

I^quiprncni. — One central station, two substations, one patrol house, tw'o 
patrol wagons, one ambulance, sixteen horses. 

Finances.— IS94 : Receipts, STi.i,622.ol; disbursements, $6!:"t,9o9.99; balance, Jan- 
uary 1, lS9o, S6,662.32. 

A police benevolent association. 


Four directors, appointed by the Mayor, superintendent, matron; one 


Organization.— FouT fire commissioners, chief and secretary, first assistant 
chief, second assistant chief, seventy-six firemen. 

I^quipmi nt. ~Tv^el\e engine, hose, and hook-and-ladder houses; a fire- 
alarm telegraph system, with over one hundred boxes; four steam fire- 
engines; two eheniieal engines; thirteen hose wagons; three hook-and-ladder 
wagons; two telegraph wagons; three buggies; thirty-six horses. 

Finances. — lSi^5: Cost of maintenance, 567,217.29; value of real estate. S90,.50O. 

5erWct\— Number of alarms in lS9o, 344; total loss, S21,97S.05; total value of 
piroperty where fires occurred, S2.012.(_i7o; total Insurance, Sl,011,557. The loss 
amounted to only about twenty-five cents per capita of the population. 

A firemen's benevolent association. 


Kstablished, 1S70. 

Organisation. — Three trustees, secretary, assistant secretary, chief engineer, 
first assistant engineer, second assistant engineer, superintendent of street 
department, two inspectors and collectors. 

Equipment.— One pumping-house; three engines, with combined daily 
capacity of 29,i'00,000 gallons; eighty-five eight-inch tube-wells, driven to a 
depth of forty-five to fifty feet; over ninety-six miles of street mains, 937 
fij:e-h yd rants, 8,t>i)7 service connections, 1,300 meters. 

Finances. — Total expenditures, 1870 to December 31, 1895, Sl,792,o60.39; total 
income to December 31, 1895, S9:>8,872.77; net cost to December 31, 189-5, S8->3,- 
6S7.i.v2; water-works bonded debt, November, 189o, 576-5,000, which is gradually 
being paid; cost of pipe, hydi'ants, etc., and laying of same, 1870-95, 57i)0,000; 
received from sale of water, 1870-95, S8tJ0.926.83; net earnings, 1870-95, $;>12,000. 

Quality of the Water.— The quality of the water, by recent analysis, has 
been found to be first-class. It is clear, cold, and remarkably free from 
injurious matter. In a recent analysis an average of only forty-eight germs 
to the cubic centimeter were found in the samples examined. The average 
teniperature in the pipes is about 5(i-. 


Mayor and six members of the board, health officer, secretary, meat 
inspector, four sanitary policemen. 



Three directors, superintendeut, clerk, city physician. 


Two market-houses, with street markets adjoining; one market-master. 


Six members, appointed by the jNIayor. 


City Expenses, 1391,-95. 

Board of Health and Sanitary 10 mills Sl,104 82 

Bridges 25 mills 10,262 05 

Elections 15 mills 6,157 23 

Fire Department 1.75 mills 71,834 37 

General Expense 60 miUs 24,628 93 

Hospitals (Deaconess and St. Elizabeth) 05 mills 2,052 41 

Inflrmary 05 mills 2,052 41 

Lighting 70 mills 28,7*3 75 

Police Department 1.10 mills 45,153 03 

Parks and Levees 05 ni ills 2,052 41 

Street Cleaning 75 mills 30,786 16 

Street Improvement a3 mills 14,366 87 

Sewers 05 mills 2,052 41 

Work - House 05 mills 2,052 41 

Schijol Paving 10 mills 4,104 82 

6.10 mills S2o0,394 08 

City Interest and Sinking Fund 5.45 mills 223,712 73 

5474,106 81 
Board of Education, 1S95-96. 

Regular Levy 7.00 mills S2SS,974 49 

Manual-Training School 20 mills 8,256 41 

Public Library 25 mills 10,320 52 

Taxes for All furposes, 1S95-96. 

City, County, and State 26.00 mills S1,073,S;33 S2 

Tax Valuatio)!, lS9,^^-96. 
Taxable Property $41,282,070 


General Sonds. 

(Principal and Interest payable from a direct tax upon the General 

Outstanding March 1, ISOJ— 

Bridge fOS.lXXI 00 

City Hall 71,(100 00 

City Prison 10,000 00 

Extending Indebtedness 1.50, tXHI 00 

Fire Dejiartmcnt 24,000 00 

Funded Debt 249,000 00 


Outstanding March 1, lS9o— 

General Street and Improvement 8.50,000 00 

Levee 30,000 00 

Park Street Sewer 126,000 00 

Police Deficiency 36,000 00 

Sewer 150,000 00 

Street Paving 528,000 00 

Southwestern Sewer 17,000 00 

Street Improvement 150,000 00 

Wolf Creek Improvement 50,000 00 

Water -Works 505,000 00 

Water -Works Enlargement 3,000 00 

Water -Works Improvement 280,000 00 

Total S2, 197,000 00 

Improveinent Bonds. 

(Principal and interest payable from assessments upon abutting or 
benefited property.) 
Outstanding March 1, 1895 — 

Street Paving $1,178,000 00 

Sewer 180,000 00 

Special Assessment 36, 165 00 

Total *1,391,165 00 



Daily.— Si's., one of which is German. 
TT'e^Afi/.— Nine, one of which is German. 
Monthly.— Tvio. 

Total. — Seventeen. 


TT'ee/t(i/.— Eleven, one of which is German. 
Semimonthly.— IS ine, one of which is German. 
Monthly.— Three. 
QitarterZj/.— Nine, one of which is German. 

Totoi.— Thirty-two. 

Grand ro<a(.— Forty-nine. 


Baptist, 11. Methodist Episcopal, African, 2. 

Baptist Brethren, 1. Methodist Protestant, 1. 

Christian, 2. Methodist, Wesleyan, 1. 

Congregational, 1. Presbyterian, 7. 

Disciples of Christ, 2. Protestant Episcopal, 3. 

Dunkards, 2. Reformed, .5. 

Evangelical Association, 2. Roman Catholic, 7. 

Hebrew, 3. Salvation Army, 1. 

Lutheran, 7. United Brethren in Christ, 12. 

Methodist Episcopal, 10. United Presbyterian, 1. 
Total, 81. 




Union Biblical Seminary, the theological school of the Church of the 
United Brethren in Christ; four professors, one general manager, and forty- 
three students. 

St. Paul's German Lutheran School, common branches. 


Eight parochial schools and academies. 

St. Mary's Institute; twenty-one oflScers and professors, 275 students in 
institute, and 120 students in normal department. 


Miami Commercial College. Young Ladies and Misses' School, 

Dayton Commercial College. Home School for Boys. 

English Training School. ConserTatory of ^lusic. 

Deaver Collegiate Institute. Dayton College of Music. 


Young 3Ien's Christian Association. — A Protestant institution, founded in 
1870; occupies a tine stone-front building on the south side of Fourth .Street, 
between Main and Jefierson; value of property, over SIOO.OOO; membership, 
over 2,500; conducts religious, educational, and physical departments, includ 
ing manual training and industrial education; has reception-room, par 
lors, reading-room, junior room, educational rooms, shop, entertainment 
hall, gymnasium, batli-roonis, and athletic park; receipts in ls[it-9o, ^10,C.Sti.y5; 
expenses, Sl!i,2B9.B.5. 

Woman's ChiHstian .4ssocia/iOH.— A Protestant institution, founded in 1870; 
occupies excellent brick buildings on the south side of Third Street, between 
Ludlow and Willvinson; value of property, StiO.tXiO; membership, about 
3.50; includes a young woman's department; conducts religious, charitable, 
educational, and physical departnients, lunch-room, and exchange; has 
reception-room, parlors, reading-room, educational rooms, eutei-tainment 
hall, industrial cla,ss-room, gymnasium, bath-rooms, etc.; receii>ts in lSy4-t*o 
$4,279.41; expenses, S4,242.i12. 

Young Women's JCcaf/Hc— Founded in ISOo; occupies a briclv building on 
the west side of Jefl'ersou Street, between Fifth and Sixth streets; member- 
ship, 4.')0; conducts religions, educational, and physical departments, and 

Young Mrn's Inxtiluli-.— \ Roman Catholic institution; occupies a brick 
building on the .south side of Fourth Street, between Ludlow and Wilkinson. 

iSt. Joseph's J».s-(i7«(c.— Conducted by the Catholic Gesellen-Verein, for the 
benefit of young men; organized in ISCk'!; furnishes reading-room, gymna- 
sium, and free circulating library; building located on Montgomery Street. 

I'rotcslant Deaconess Home and //i),^;;)^7(;^— Founded in ISiXl by the Protestant 
Deaconess Society of Dayton; i>ccupies an expensive prossed-brick building 
on K(nith side of Apple Street, between Main and Brown, costing, with 
equipment, about S150,0tXl; eaiiacily. 175 patients. 

SI. KlizabeHi Jlospilnl.— A Komnn Catliolie institution, founded in 1S7S; 
couducted by tlie Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis; occupies a large brick 


building on ttie west side of Hopeliind Street, between Washington and 
Albany, casting over JBo.UUO; capacity, 242 patients. 

ir«Zou's' iibmc— Founded in 1S75, by the Woman's Christian Association; 
occupies a brick Ijuilding on the northeast corner of Findlay and May 
streets; capacity, twenty-eight inmates; endowment, ^7,858.79; receipts, 
for year ending October 5, 1895, 53,124.91); expenses, $2,911.59. 

Mvidgornerii County Children's Home. — Founded in 1866; occupies a brick 
building on the east side of Summit Street, soutli of Home Avenue; number 
of inmates in February, 1895, fifty-one, of whom tliirty-eight were boys and 
thirteen were girls; total received from the founding, 1,86-1. 

Christian Dca<:oncss Home. — ^Monument Avenue, West Side. 

Children's iibmc— 116 South Ringgold Street. 

Bethany Home.— Fov homeless girls and women; 159 East Park Street. 

Xationcd Soldiers' Home (Central Branch).— Founded in 1867; located a 
short distance west of the city; grounds cover six hundred and twenty-five 
acres; number of inmates, about 6,000. 

Southern Ohio Asylum for the Jnsnne.— Founded in 1852; located at the south 
end of Wayne Avenue ; capacity, 800 patients. 

Humane Society. 

Worn£7i's Clrristian Temperance Union, JVb. 1. 

Women's Christian Temperance Union, J\'o. '2. 

Si. Joseph's German Catholic Asylum. 

Other Societies.— 'Numerous lodges <jf JIasons, Knights of Pythias, Knights 
of St. John, Odd Fellows, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, Girand Army 
of the Kepublic, Sons of Veterans, Woman's Veteran Relief Union, Order of 
United American Jlechanics, Knights of Labor, trades unions, and other 


Present Day Club. Shakespeare Club. 

AVoman's Literary Club. Philharmonic Society. 

"H. H."Club. Mozart Clul). 

Emerson Club. Harmonia Society. 

Friday Afternoon Club. Maennerchor. 


Garfield Club. Thurman Club. 

Jackson Club. Lincoln Club. 

Gravel Hall Club. 


Dayton Club. Dayton Gymnastic Club. 

Dayton Bicycle Club. Dayton Turngemeinde. 

Y. 51. C. A. Wheelmen. Stillwater Canoe Club. 

Dayton Lawn Tennis Club. Ruckawa Canoe Club. 

Dayton Angling Club. Dayton Camera Club. 


Phojnix Light Infantry, Company G, Third Regiment Infantry, Ohio 
National Guard. 

Gem City Light Infantry, Company I, Third Regiment Infantry, Ohio 
National Guard. 



City Railway.— Thiri Street Line, from the east end of Third Street to the 
Soldiers' Home; electric; length of line, over six miles of double track and 
less than one-quarter mile ol single track. 

Fifth Street Line, from the east end of Huffman Avenvie to the Soldiers' 
Home; electric; length of line, six and one-half miles of double track and 
about one-half mile of single track. 

Green Line, from the east end of Richard Street to the corner of Fifth 
and Wilkinson; electric; length of line, over two miles of double track. 

Authorized capital, $2,100,000; total length of lines operated, over fourteen 
and one-half miles of double track and about three-quarters of a mile of 
single track. 

Oakimod Street-Eailuay.— FTOTa the north end of Salem Street in Dayton 
View to Oakwood, at the south end of Brown Street; electric; capital, SoOO,- 
000; length of line, about four miles of double track. 

White Line StreetSailway.— Fron-^ the corner of Main Street and Forest 
Avenue in Riverdale, lia Main, Third, Ludlow, Washington, and German- 
town streets to the Soldiers' Home; electric; capital, $100,000 ; length of line, 
about six miles of double track. 

Wayne Aveiiue and Fifth Street Railway. — From the south end of AVayne 
Avenue, via Wayne Avenue, Fifth, Jelferson, First, Keowee, and Valley 
streets to the east end of Valley Street in North Dayton; horse-cars; capital, 
$100,000; length of line, about three miles of double track and about one 
mile of single track. 

Dayton Traction Company. — South Main Street, from the corner of Fifth and 
extending to Calvary Cemetery ; electric; capital, 82.50,000; length of line, one 
and one-half mnes of double track and one and one-half miles of single track. 

Total length of street railways operated, over twenty-nine miles of double 
track and about three and one-quarter miles of single track. About two 
and one-half miles of double track being used jointly, the net length of 
double track is about twenty -six and one-halt miles. 


Total length of streets in the city, one hundred and flfty-eight miles, of 
which nearly twenty-flve miles are paved, as follows: asphalt, fourteen 
miles; brick, nearly nine miles; granite, over one mile; ;Medina stone, over 
one-half mile. Total cost of paving, S1,S00,0(X). Eighty-three miles of streets 
arc graded and graveled, and fifty miles are unimproved. 

Thirty-nine miles of sanitary sewers and forty miles of storm sewers have 
been laid, at a cost of Stori.OOO. 


Board of Trade. — Officers : president, first vice-president, second vice-pres- 
ident, secretary, treasurer, flfteen directors. 

National Banks.— Seven, with combined capital of ?2,500,1X)0, and cash assets 
of over iSi,000,lXXI; a clearing-house. 

_B»j7(f/H(/i7m;-7^oaii..'lssoraa/i<i».«.— Seventeen, with combined capital amount- 
ing to J-|:!,.'!50,OUO. 

Fire-In-viiranec Companies (Home).— Seven, with investment of 5700,000 
and net as.sets amounting to ?l,2K5,30t; one underwriters' association. 

Ineor2n>raled Co7npaiiie.\.— Ouo hundred aiut seventy, with capital stock of 
over K5,000,000. 



Builders' Exchange. — Officers; president, first vice-president, second vice- 
president, secretary, treasurer. 

Cros Company. 

Natural Gas Company. 

Eleelrie lAglxt Company. 

Telegraph and Cable Companies.— T'wo. 

XHsirict Telegraph Company. 

Telephone Exchange. 

Hallways. — Eleven, Tvitli sixty-four passenger trains daily. 

Manu/acluring Establishments. — Number, about one thousand; capital in- 
vested in 1894, 811,650,043; value of manufactured products, 1S!)4, J10,163,913.60; 
"wages paid, 1894, 52,176,156.15. In number of factories, in capital invested in 

manufacturing industries, and in wages paid, Dayton ranks as the third 
city in the State; in value of manufactured products, fourth. 


Postage Receipts 1178,451.08 

Expenses of Office $74,648.98 

Number of Money Orders Issued 19,852 

Value of Money Orders Issued ¥154,.367.35 

Number of Money Orders Paid 60,058 

Value of Money Orders Paid S333,093.77 

Pieces of First-Class Mail Received 4,480,000 

Pieces of All Other Classes Received 8,948,800 

Special Letters Received 9,831 

Pieces of First-Class Mail Dispatched 7,620,907 

Pieces of All Other Classes Dispatched 7,051,850 

Special Letters Dispatched 6,257 

Registered Letters and Parcels Received 40,920 

Registered Letters and Parcels Dispatched 19,742 

Total Number Pieces Received and Dispatched 23,120,645 

Weight in Pounds of Second-Class Matter Mailed by Publishers... 47,441 

Number of Carriers 40 

Mail Trains Arriving Daily 39 

Mall Trains Departing Daily 42 


Abstracters of Titles 4 

Agricultural Implements, Deal- 
ers 10 

Agricultural Implements, Mfs.. 6 

Architects 10 

Architectural Iron, Manuf 1 

Art Glass 1 

Artificial Flowers 1 

Artificial Stone Pavements 2 

Artists 22 

Asbestos Packing and Mill 

Boards 1 

Asphalt Pavements 2 

Asphalt Roofing 2 

Attorneys-at-Law 123 

Auctioneers 6 

Autographic Registers, Manufs. 2 

Awnings, Manufs 4 

Bakeries 50 

Bakers' Supplies 1 

Baking-Powder, Munufs 6 

Banks, National 7 

Barber Shops 

Barbers' Supplies. 
Baskets, Manufs.. 
Bicycles, Dealers. . 



Bicycles, Manuf 1 

Blackboards, Slate Stone, Mf.... 1 

Blacking, Manuf 1 

Blacksmith ShojDS 36 



Blank Books, Manufs 5 

Boarding-Houses 72 

Boat-Houses 3 

Boats, Manuf.,. ., 1 

Boilers, Steam, Manufs 4 

Bolt and Screw Cases I 

Bookbinders 6 

Bookbinders' Machinery, I\If. .. 1 

Book-Cover Dies and Tools 1 

Book Publishers 4 

Booksellers and Stationers 10 

Boot- and Shoe-Makers 113 

Boots and Shoes, Retail 46 

Boots and Shoes, Wholesale 1 

Boxes, Manuf 1 

Brass-Founders 3 

Brass Goods 2 

Brass Stamps 2 

Breweries 17 

Brick, Manufs 11 

Bricklayers 17 

Brickmaklng Machinery 1 

Brokers IS 

Brooms, Manufs 11 

Brushes, Manufs 2 

Buildingand Loan Associations 17 

Candy, Manufs 4 

Candy-Molds, Manuf 1 

Canning Factory 1 

Carbon, Manuf 1 

Car-Furnishings, Manuf 1 

Carpenters and Builders US 

Carpet Cleaners 7 

Carpet Dealers 14 

Carpet "\\'eavers 11 

Carriages and Buggies, Dealers.. 4 

Carriages and Buggies, Manufs. 9 

Cars, Railroad, Manuf 1 

Cash Registers, Manuf 1 

Caterers 2 

Cement Pavements 13 

Chain, Manufs 2 

Cliairs, JIannf 1 

Cbiua. ami (.J.ueensw;! re Dealers. 10 

CI lurch Fui'niture 1 

Cigar-lk">xes, Manufs 3 

Cigar Dealers 53 

Cigars, Manufs oS 

(."istern Builders 5 

i'ivil Engineers tl 

CI eai'ing-1 louse 1 

Clergymen i;_>o 

Clothing Dealers 27 

Clotliing Renovators 19 

Coal Dealers'. 40 

Coal Miners 4 

Cold Storage 1 

Commercial Colleges 2 

Commission Merchants 11 

Confectioners. Retail 55 

Confectioners, Wholesale 10 

Cooper Shops 7 

Coppersmith 1 

Corsets, Manufs 3 

Colton Batting 1 

Daily Markets 112 

Dairies 25 

Dental Electrical Specialties — 1 

Dentists 31 

Detective Agency 1 

Dressmakers 300 

Druggist, Wholesale 1 

Druggists and Apothecaries .55 

Dry Goods, Retail 44 

Dry Goods, Wholesale 4 

Dye Houses 2 

Electric Construction and Sup- 
plies 5 

Electric Light Company 1 

Electric Supplies, Dealer 1 

Electrical Engineers 2 

Electrical Goods, Manuf 1 

Electrotypers 2 

Employment Agenc>' 1 

Engravers G 

Express Companies. 7 

Fancy Goods S 

Fans, Ventilating. 1 

Feed Stores 32 

Fences, Manufs i 

File-Cases, ^Manuf 1 

Files, Manufs 2 

Fire-Alarm Operators i 

Fire-Brick and Clay, 4 

Flav(M-ing Extract^ 2 

Flax-:\Iill 1 

Florists IS 

Flour-Mills i) 

Freight Lines 9 

Fresco Artists 2 

Fruit -Growers U 

Fruits, Retail 10 

Fruits, Wholesale 

Furnaces, Warm Air 7 

Furnilvire, Dealers iti 

Furniture. INIauuf-^ ,'1 



Furniture-Cars IJ 

Galvanized Iron Cornices (3 

Gas-Burners and Appliances. .. 1 

Gas Company I 

Gas Company, Natural 1 

Gas-Engine, Manufs 8 

Gas-Fitters and Fixtures. 15 

Gas-Machine, Manuf 1 

Gas Range and Heater, Manuf. 1 

Gasoline Stove, Manuf 1 

Grain Dealers 5 

Grain Elevator 1 

Grocers, Retail 307 

Grocers, Wholesale 9 

Guns, Pistols, etc 2 

Gunsmiths 3 

Hardware and Cutlery 12 

Hardware, Wholesale 4 

Harness and Saddles. 17 

Hats and Caps 20 

Hedges 1 

Hotels 19 

House-Furnishing Goods 8 

House-Movers and Raisers 2 

Hubs, Spokes, etc 2 

Hydraulic Machinery 2 

Ice, Dealers 3 

Ice, Manufs 2 

Ice Cream 13 

Ice and Refrigerator Machin- 
ery, Manuf 1 

Ink, Man uf 1 

Insurance Agents 38 

Insurance Companies, Fire 9 

Insurance Companies, Life 2 

Iron-Founders 10 

Iron Posts, Manuf 1 

Iron- and Wood-AVorking ]Ma- 

chlnery I 

Jewelers 26 

Justices of the Peace 4 

Kindergartens 3 

Lamps and Lamp Goods I 

Lasts, Manufs 2 

Laundries 17 

Leather and Findings 2 

Lime, Plaster, and Cement. 11 

Linseed- and Cotton -Oil Ma- 
chinery 2 

Linseed Oil, Manufs 4 

Lithographers 3 

Livery-Stables 36 

Loan Agents 6 

Loan Offices 5 

Locksmiths 2 

Lum ber Dealers 15 

Machine Knives, Manuf 1 

Machine Tools 2 

Machi nists. 15 

Macbinists' Tools 1 

Malleable Iron Works 1 

Mantels and Grates. 4 

Marble Dust 1 

Marble Q,uarry 1 

Marble Works 8 

Mattresses, Manufs 4 

Meats, Wholesale 2 

Mechanics' Tools 3 

Medicines, Patent 19 

Men's Furnishing Goods 32 

Mercantile Agencies 3 

Milk Depots 8 

Mill Supplies 4 

Milliners, Retail 41 

Milliners, Wholesale 2 

Mineral Water, Manufs 2 

Mittens, Manuf 1 

Model Makers 2 

Motor, Water, Manuf. 1 

Music Colleges 2 

Music Publisher 1 

Music Teachers 80 

Musical Instruments, Dealers.. 5 

News Depots 8 

Notaries Public 114 

Notions, Retail 20 

Notions, Wholesale 5 

Novelties, Manufs 2 

Nozzles, Manufs 2 

Nurseries 6 

N urses 37 

Oculists and Aurists 3 

Oils 15 

Opticians 5 

Overalls, Manufs 3 

Oysters, Fish, and Game 7 

Pails, Manuf 1 

Paint, Manuf 1 

Painters, House and Sign 73 

Paints, Oils, etc 7 

Pants, Manufs 3 

Paper, Dealers 3 

Paper, Manufs 7 

Paper Bags 1 

Paper-Box Makers' Machinery, 1 

Paper Boxes, !Manuf s 2 



Paper Hangers 27 

Paper Hangings 17 

Paper-Mill Alachinery 1 

Paper and Wooden Plate, Mf.... 1 

Parquetry- Floors 1 

Patent Attorneys 3 

Patent Solicitors 2 

Pattern-Makers 11 

Pension Attorneys 2 

Pension Claim Agents 3 

Perfumery, Manuf 1 

Photographers 17 

Photographers' Supplies 2 

Physicians Ii7 

Pianos and Organs " 

Pictures and Picture Frames... 9 

Planing-Mills 8 

Plasterers 21 

Plows, Manafs 2 

Plumhers 15 

Pork Packers 4 

Potteries 2 

Poultry Dealers 2 

Printers, Book and Jub 26 

Pumps S 

Putty, Manuf 1 

Rags, Metals, etc 7 

Railroad Ticket Brokers 3 

Railway Cars, Manuf 1 

Railway Sui'plies, !Mauuf 1 

Real Estate 62 

Restaurants 23 

Ropes and Cordage 1 

Rubber Goods 1 

Rubber Stamps 3 

Safe Deposit Com.panies 2 

Saloons 399 

Sash, Doors, aud Blinds, Manufs 9 

Sawmills. 2 

Saws, !Manufs 2 

Scales, Comjiuting, ]Manuf 1 

Sch'Kil Furniture, Manuf 1 

Screws, Manuf 1 

Sculptors 2 

Sealing-Wax. Maiiuf 1 

Second-Hand Stores 2 

Seeds 4 

Sewer Pipe 7 

SewingM; I chines. Dealers 15 

Sewing-Jhicbines, Manuf 1 

Sheet-Iron Workers 3 

Shirts, Manufs 6 

Shoes, Jlanuf 1 

Showcase Dealers 2 

Sign Painters 10 

Soap, Manufs 6 

Spice-Mills 5 

Spraying-Machines, Manufs 2 

Stained Glass 1 

Stair-Builder 1 

Stationers 1^ 

Steam-Engine Builders 3 

Steam-Fitters 7 

Steamship Agents 3 

Stencils 2 

Stenographers 6 

Stock Yard 1 

Stockings, Manuf. 1 

Stone-Cutters' Tools, Manufs. .. 3 

Stonemasons 22 

Stone-Quarries 3 

Stoneware 2 

Stone-Yards 5 

Storage. 4 

Stove-Polish. Manuf 1 

Stoves, Manufs 3 

Stoves and Tinware, Dealers... 35 

Straw-Boards, Manuf. 1 

Street-Cars. Manuf 1 

Street Contractors 16 

Street-Paving Contractors 2 

Street Sprinklers 7 

Subscription Books 3 

Sweeping-Machines. Manuf 1 

Switch and Car Locks. Manuf.. 1 

Table-Slides. :Manuf 1 

Tabk-ts, JIanuf 1 

Tags, Manuf 1 

Tailors, Merchant 38 

Teas and Coflees. Retail 10 

Teas and Cotiees, Wholesale.. .. 1 

Telegraph Companies 3 

Telephone Company 1 

Telephone Construction 1 

Theaters •: 

Tinware lo 

Tobaro). Lo;if 22 

Tobaco. ^hmufs 3 

Tobacco Machinery 1 

Toilet Articles, Manuf 1 

Toys s 

Transfer Companies il 

Trunk Materials 1 

Trunks, Valises, etc 4 

Twines and Cordage 2 

Typewrilei-s 3 


Umbrellas, Manuf l Wheels, Manuf '. 1 

Undertakers 10 White Lead, Mauuf 1 

United States Commissioner.... 1 Wind Engines 1 

Upholsterers 10 Window Glass 2 

"Varnish, Manuf s 2 Window Shades 3 

Veterinary Hospital 1 Wood Dealers 11 

Veterinary Surgeons 4 Wood- and Iron-Working Ha- 

Wagon-Makers ? 26 chinery 1 

Washing-Machlnes, ilanul 1 Wood Mantels, Manuf 1 

Water-Supply 2 Wood and Willow Ware 2 

Water-Wheels, Manuf s 2 Yeast, Manuf s 3 


1749 — French Major Celeron de Bienville ascended the La Roche or Big Miami 

1751 — Gist visited the Twightwee or Miami villages. 

1780 — General George Rogers Clark led an expedition against the Indians of 
the Miami region, one of his officers being Colonel Robert Patterson. 

1782 — November 9, A skirmish between American soldiers under General 
Clark and the Indians on the site of Dayton, in which the Amer- 
icans were victorious. 

17S6 — Americans under Colonel Logan again defeated the Indians on the site 
of Dayton, one of the brigades being commanded by Colonel Robert 

1789 — Plans formed for a town named Venice on the site of Dayton. 

1795 — August 3, A treaty of peace made with the Indians at Green^'llle, Ohio, 
by General Wayne — August 20, The site of Dayton purchased by 
Generals St. Clair, Dayton, and Wilkinson, and Colonel Ludlow — 
November, The town laid out by Colonel Israel Ludlow. 

1796 — April 1, Arrival of first settlers, by the Miami Kiver, landing at the 
head of St. Clair Street; two other parties coming a few days later 
by land — Newcom's first log cabin built. 

1798 — First sermon preached in Dayton hy Rev. John Kobler, of the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church — First Methodist Episcopal class, now Grace 
Church, organized, with eight members — Newcom's Tavern built — 
Taxes paid, ^29.74. 

1799— First Presbyterian Church organized — Blockhouse built — First school 
opened — First industries established, consisting of distillery, saw- 
mill, and corn-cracker mill — First lime made — First flatboat left 
forNew Orleans — Dayton three years old and contained nine cabins 
— Only two houses on Main Street — D. C. Cooper appointed justice 
of the peace. 

1800— Presbyterian meeting-house, eighteen by twenty feet in size, built of 
logs, on northeast corner of Main and Third streets — August 28, 
First wedding in Dayton, that of Benjamin Van Cleve and Mary 
AVhitten — April 14, First child born in Dayton, Jane Newcom — First 
store opened, in Newcom's Tavern. 

1801 — First male child born in Dayton, John W. Van Cleve. 

1802— Only five families in Dayton — Ohio admitted into the Union. 

1803 — D. C. Cooper resuscitated the town — Montgomery County organized- 
Dayton made the county-seat — First court held in Dayton — New- 
com's Tavern used as court-house, jail, church, and country store. 


1804 — Postofflce and mail-route established — Benjamin Van Cleve, first post- 
master — Mail every two weeks, between Cincinnati and Detroit, via 
Dayton — Letter postage twenty to twenty-five cents — Log jail built 
on Court-house lot — First grist-mill erected — Taxes for the year, 

1805 — The town of Dayton incorporated — First town election held — Presby- 
terian log meeting-house sold for twenty-two dollars and services 
continued in log tavern — Dayton Social Library Society incorpo- 
rated — First brick building erected — First disastrous flood. 

1806 — First Court-house built, of brick, on present Court-house lot— Two 

brick stores erected — First newspaper published. 

1807 — Dayton Academy incorporated. 

IS08 — First brick residence built — 196 votes cast — Repertory first published. 

1809 — Freight Hue of keel-boats established between Dayton, Laramie, and 

St. Mary's — Fourth of July celebrated with a procession — First 
drug-store opened — First political convention in the county. 

1810 — Population, .383- New sidewalks ordered by Select Council— O/i(0 Centi- 

nel first published. 

1811 — Nine fiatboats left for New Orleans, with products of the surrounding 

country — A comet visible, and severe earthquake shocks felt. 

1812 — A company enlisted for the "War of 1812 — Ohio militia encamped in 

ISlo — First society of mechanics organized — First Dayton bank chartered — 
August 13, Present Grand Opera.House lot, on southeast corner of 
Main and First streets, purchased by James Steele and Joseph 
Peirce for twenty dollars. 

1814 — First Methodist church completed — Ferry began to operate at Ludlow 
Street — Ohio Hepublican first published — First Dayton bank opened 
for business — A flood. 

1815— Dayton Female Charitable and Bible Society organized — First market- 
house opened— About one hundred dwellings in Dayton, chiefly log 
cabins — Moral Society and Society of Associated Bachelors formed 
— First school for girls opened. 

1816 — First theater held in Dayton— 0/h'o Watefiman first published. 

1817— New Courthouse finished- Presbyterians erected a brick church 

St. Thomas Episcopal Parish organized — Bridge across Mad River 
built — Bridge Street Bridge Company incorporated- First Sabbath- 
School Association organized — Only two carriages owned in Dayton. 

1818- Stage-coach line began to ran between Dayton and Cincinnati. 

1819 — A keel-boat arrived from Cincinnati — St. Thomas Episcopal Church 
organized — An African lion exhibited at Reid's Inn- Bridge at 
Bridge Street completed. 

1820- Cooper's Mills burned — Population. 1.000. 

1822 — Slontgoniery County Bible S.H-ietyorganizcd-Lancasterian method of 
instruction introduced — Tlie Griiliron publislied — Seven flatboats 
and one keel-boat left for New Orleans. 

182.".- ,l//((«il Tlrpiihlivnn and Dai/lim . Idl-rrlixer first published. 

182t — First ISaiitistChurch organized— First cotton factory erected, bv Thomas 
CI egg. 

1825 — Law pas.sod authorising the construction of a canal from Dayton to 
Cluclnnatl — Stage-line estalilislied between Columbus, Dayton, and 
Ciuclniniti — -197 passengers by stage passed through Dayton during 
tlic > car. 


1826 — The Watchman and Miami Republican consolidated, and named the 
Ohio National Journal and Montgomery and Dayton Advertiser, after- 
ward hecoming the Dayton Journal. 

1827 — First volunteer fire company organized— Baptist society built a church. 

1828 — Water first turned into the canal — First canal-boat launched — Twenty 

stage-coaches arrived every week — First iron foundry established, 

now the Globe Iron Works — A flood. 
1829— First arrival of canal-boats from Cincinnati — First temperance society 

formed — A new market-house built — Last factory established, now 

Crawford, McGregor & Canby's Dayton Last Works — Steele's dam 

constructed — A majority of the First Baptist Church established a 

Campbellite church, now the Church of Christ. 
1830 — Population, 2,9.34 — Dayton HepubUcan first published. 
1831 — First public school opened — Christ Church Parish organized — 'First 

Catholic family arrived in Dayton — R. C. Schenck began practice 

of law in Dayton, 
IScS — Afugitive slave captured in Dayton — First Board of Health appointed 

— Fifty-one brick and sixty-two wooden houses built — A silk man- 
ufactory established — Dayton Lyceum organized — First parochial 
school opened — A flood — Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad Company 

1833— First Reformed Church organized — Mechanics' Institute organized- 
Population, 4,000— Thirty-three deaths from cholera. 

1834 — Democratic Herald first published — Police Department organized. 

183-5 — Firemen's Insurance Company chartered. 

183y — Main Street bridge opened for travel — First book published. 

1837 — Emmanuel Catholic Church dedicated. 

1838— The " public square," now Cooper Park, prepared for and planted with 
trees — Convention held in the interest of free schools — Dayton and 
Springfield turnpike constructed — Montgomery County Agricul- 
tural Society organized — Erection of public school-houses ordered. 

1839 — Dayton Township first divided into election precincts — First county 
agricultural fair held — Dayton Silk Company organized, with capital 
of $100,000 — First English Lutheran Church organized. 

1840 — Harrison campaign — General Harrison visited Dayton — Dayton Journal 
began to issue first daily paper — Emmanuel Church of the Evangel- 
ical Association organized— Population, 6,067 — Paper- mill established 

— Montgomery County Mutual Fire Insurance Company organized. 
1841 — Dayton incorporated as a city— The works of W. P. Callahan <fe Com- 
pany established. 

1842 — Western Empire, now Dayton Times, established. 

1843— Woodland Cemetery opened — John Quincy Adams entertained— Bank 
of Dayton chartered by the State Legislature. 

1844 — St. Henry's Cemetery opened. 

1845— Bank of Dayton (a State bank), now the Dayton National Bank, organ- 
ized-Dayton Bank, to which the Winters National Bank traces its 
origin, organized. 

1846— Dayton furnished soldiers for the Mexican War. 

1847 — Disastrous flood — Dayton Library Association organized — First United 
Brethren Church organized — First telegraph message received. 

1849— Two hundred and twenty-five deaths from cholera— The Barney & 
Smith Car Works established — Dayton lighted by gas — St. Mary's 
Institute founded — W. C. Howells purchased the Dayton Transcript. 


1850 — Central High School established — Present old Court-house completed 
— City Bank and Farmers' Bank opened — D. L. Elke, now the Rike 
Dry Goods Company, began business — First HebreTv Congregation 
organized — Population, 10,970. 

1&51 — First railroad, from Dayton to Springfield completed — Cincinnati, 
Hamilton & Dayton Railway completed to Dayton — First passenger 
station located at northeast corner of Jefterson and Sixth streets — 
Jliami Valley Bank established- Dayton Insurance Company 
organized — Hebrew cemetery opened. 

1852 — Probate Court of Montgomery County first opened — Southern Ohio 
Insane Asylum located at Dayton — Exchange Bank, successor of the 
Dayton Bank, opened — Dayton &Uniou Railroad opened for traffic. 

1853 — United Brethren Publishing House, established in 18-34 at Circlevllle, 

Ohio, removed to Dayton — Dayton & ^Vestern Railroad opened. 

1854 — First Orthodox Congregational Society organized. 

1855 — Public Library established — The works of Pinneo & Daniels estab- 


1856 — Union Passenger Station erected. 

1857 — Old Central High School building erected. 
1859 — Stomps-Burkhardt chair factory established. 

18IjO — Miami Commercial College established — Population, 20,081. 

1861-05 — Dayton furnished to the United States service 2,099 soldiers; under 
special calls of the State, 9fl5; grand total ot Dayton men in the 
service, 3,664. 

1802 — Lowe Brothers' paiut factory founded. 

1803— First National Bank, now the City National Bank, established- Sec- 
ond National Bank chartered — Miami Valley Insurance Company 
organized — First steam fire-engine purchased — Vallandigham ar- 
rested — Journal office burned — Dayton A- Michigan Railroad opiened. 

ISdi — Empire office mobbed— The Browncll Company began business. 

1865 — Miami Valley Boiler Works established — Teutonia Insurance Com- 

pany organized — Ohio Insurance Company began business — Atlan- 
tic & Great "Western Railroad, now the New York. Pennsylvania & 
Ohio, formed by the consolidation of several roads. 

1866 — Great destruction by flood — National Soldiers' Home located near 

Dayton — Stilwell & Bierce Manufacturing Company began business 
— T'o?is-Zci7u«</ established — Christian Publishing Association, estab- 
lished in 1843, reincorporated and located in Dayton. 

1867 — Central Branch National Military Home established near Dayton- 

Dayton Building Association No. 1 organized — Montgomery County 
Children's Home founded — Cooper Insurance Company incorpo- 

1808- McHose & Lyon Architectural Iron Works established — John Dodds 
licgnn to inanufarture agricultural iniiilements. 

1869- First, street-railway coustruetcd, on Third Street — Normal School 
opened — Dayton Mallealile Iron Company incorporated —Thresher 
& Company began to manufacture varnish — Sunday, ilay Hi, 1 .v.ji. 
Turner's Opera House and adjoining buildings burned; loss, S500,(KX> • 
insurance, 5128,000. 

1870— Holly Water-Works established — Young Men's Christian Association 
organlzAHl- Wonum'si'liristian .Vssoi-iation organized — Population. 
30,473 — Cincinnati "Short Line" Railroad, now a part of the Cleve- 
land, Cincinnati, Chicago ^t St. Louis Railroad, incorporated. 


1871 — Union Biblical Seminary opened — Merchants National Bank incorpo- 

rated—Wayne and Fifth Street Railway and Dayton View Street- 
Railway chartered. 

1872 — Calvary Cemetery opened. 

1S73 — Metropolitan police force organized — Mutual Home and Savings Asso- 
ciation organized. 

187-4- Philharmonic Society organized — New jail completed— Smith & Vaile 
Company began business. 

1875 — J. W. Stoddard & Company began business. 

1877 — Free night schools established — Crume & Sefton Manufacturing Com- 

pany established — Dayton & Southeastern Railroad, now the Cin- 
cinnati, Dayton & Ironton, opened. 

1878 — St. Elizabeth Hospital founded— Woodhull's carriage and buggy works 


1879 — Dayton Dcdly Herald first published. 

1880— Fifth Street Railway Company incorporated — Population, 38,678. 

1881 -St. Elizabeth Hospital erected. 

1882 — Third National Bankchartered — Columbia Insurance Company organ- 

ized— Reformed Publishing Company organized. 

1883 — Serious flood — Montgomery County Bar Association organized — Elec- 

tric light introduced — Dayton Manufacturing Company incorpo- 
rated—Historical Publishing Company incorporated. 

18&4— New Court-house completed — National Cash Register Company organ- 
ized—Montgomery County Soldiers' Monument dedicated — Ohio 
Rake Company incorporated. 

1886— A destructive flood, damaging West Dayton. 

1887 — White Line Street-Railway, the first operated by electricity, constructed 
— Union Safe Deposit and Trust Company incorporated — Pasteur- 
Chamberland Filter Company incorporated — Board of Trade organ- 

1888 — New Public Library building occupied — Fourth National Bank incor- 
porated — Davis Sewing-Machine Company removed to Dayton — 
First street-paving laid, on East Fifth Street. 

1889 — Woman's Literary Club organized — Natural gas introduced — Teutonla 
National Bank chartered. 

1890 — Protestant Deaconess Society organized — First sanitary sewers laid — 
Lorenz &. Company, music publishers, began business — Population, 

1891 — Dayton Computing Scale Company incorporated — Dayton Under- 
writers' Association incorporated — Deaconess Society opened a 
temporary hospital — Dayton Presi- established. 

1892— Columbian Centennial celebrated — Seybold Machine Company incor- 

1893— New High School building completed — Thresher Electrical Company 
began business. 

1894 — Deaconess Hospital completed and dedicated — Police matron appointed. 

1895 — All street railways except one operated by electricity — Dayton Traction 
Company began to operate its line — Present Day Club organized- 
Young Won:ien's League organized. 

1896 — Manual-training school opened — Population, about 80,000 — Sixty-four 
passenger trains daily — April 1, Centennial celebration begun. 



BiiACK, Ai.'EXANrtER. !^tor}j of Ohio. Boston. l-SSS. 

Browjs, jVsi-iley. History of Dayton in the History of Jlonfgomein/ County, 
Ohio. Chicago. 1NS2. 

CUEWEN, ilASKELL E. A Skctch of thc History of Dayton. 18-50. 

Howe, Henjly. Historical Collections of Ohio. 1S4T. 

• The Same. Revised and enlarged. 2 vols. Columbus. 1889. 

King, Rufus. History of Ohio. Boston. 1888. 

Nmcspajiers from 1808 to 1896, on file in Dayton Puhlie Library. 

accords oj the Dayton Academy. 1808-1047. :MS. 

Steele, Robeut AV. Historical Sketch of the Dayton Schools. 
Historical Sketch of the Woodland Cemetery Association. 1875. 

Steelk, RoBEiiT "\V., AND STEELE, Maev Davies. Early Dayton. 300 pp^ 
iL'mo. Dayton, Ohio: \V. J. Shuey, United Brethren PuMishing 
House. IsijLi. 

Steele, Robekt "SV., AVooldeidge, J., and Otheks. History <f Dayton, Ohio. 
7-8 P13., quarto. Dayton, Ohio: AV. J. Shuey, L^nited Brethren 
Publishing House. 1880. 

Van Cleve, Benjamin. Jlemoranda. MS. 

^'AN Cleve, John "W. Brief History of the Sciiloucnt of the Town of Dayton, 
Published in Journal of Historical and Philosophical Society of 
Ohio, page 7o. 

Note.— For a more complete bibliography see Caialo(/uc of t?ie Z>aytoa Public 



Abolitionists mobbed, 94, 95. 
Academy, Dayton, 92, 145. 
Adams, Jolin Quiney, 183. 
Anderson, Governor Charles, 1S6, 205. 
Antislavery society, 94. 
Asbury, Bishop, 127. 
Associated Bachelors' Society, 132, 133. 
Asylum, 227. 

Bacon, Henry, 93. 
Bacon, Richard, 108. 
Baker, Aaron, 93, 94, 127, 12ff, 133. 
Banks. 90, 126, 185, 199, 228, 234 et seq. 
Baptist Church,''First, 149, 191. 
Bar of Dayton, 186, 187. 
Barney, E. E., 90, 92, 165, 184, 199. 
Bartholomew, Jean, 1.S4. 
Battles on site of Dayton, 19, 20. 
Benevolent and charitable institu- 
tions, 130, 194, 195, 226, 227. 
Benham, Captain, 40, 41, 45. 
Bibliography, 238. 
Bickham, Major \V. D., 197. 
Bienville, Major Celoron de, 17. 
"Black Ben," 94. 
Blockhouse, 34. 
Board of City Affairs, 221. 
Board of Education, 222. 
Board ol Elections, 222. 
Board of Equalization, 222. 
Board of Health, 159, 223. 
Board of Trade, 228. 
Bomberger, Mrs. Sarah, 136, 137. 
Bonded debt, 224, 225. 
Bridges, 8«, 89, 136, 161. 
Brown, Ashley, 67, 238. 
Brown, Henry, 32, 96. 
Brown, Henry L., 32, 160. 
Brown, Thomas, 109, 189. 
Bruen, Luther, 93, 94, 207. 
Builders' Exchange, 229. 

16 i 

Building and loan associations, 197, 

Burnet, Isaac G., 110, 128. 
Business men in " the thirties," 16-5. 

Cabins, 24, 33, 51, 52. 

Cabintown, 154. 

Calvary Cemetery, 186. 

Campbell, James, 184. 

Canal, Miami and Erie, 150 et seq., 221. 

Canal-boat, first, built in Dayton, 151. 
first to arrive, 152. 

Carpet manufacture, 173. 

Cass, General, 119. 

Catholic church, Franklin Street, 191. 

Catholic family, first, 191. 

Cemeteries, 61, 71, 72, 183, 186. 

Centennial of Dayton, 29. 

Ccntinel, Ohio, 109, 110, 126. 

Central High School, 184. 

Charitable and benevolent institu- 
tions, 130, 194, 195, 226, 227. 

Chase, Governor, 193. 

Children's Home, 194, 227. 

ChilUcothe, 78. 

Cholera, 159, 192. 

Chronological record, 233 et seq. 

Churches, 191, 225. 

Cincinnati, 21, 22, 23, 25, 54, 138, 139, 216, 

City government and institutions, 
221 et seq. 

City Infirmary, 22i. 

Civil War, Dayton in the, 202 H srq. 

Clark, General George Rogers, 19. 

Clay, Henry, 178, 183. 

Clegg, Thomas, 108, 234. 

Cleveland, 139. 

Clinton, Governor DeWitt, 150. 

Clubs, 196, 227. 

Colonization society formed, 94. 



Colored people left for Hayti, 9-i. 
Columbian Centennial, 196. 
Columbus, 1.39, 221. 
Comet of 1811, 110. 
Comly, B. N., 75, 148. 
Comly, W. F., 75, 148. 
Commercial and industrial, 228 ei seq. 
Commercial colleges, 226. 
Compton's Tavern, 150. 
Conestoga wagons, 103. 
Congregational Church, First, 236. 
Conover, Obadiah B., 93, 94, 114, 133. 
Cooper, D. C, 20, 21, 29, 30, 65, 79, 87, 
92, 111, 133. 

becomes titular proprietor of Day- 
ton, 30, 63. 

his improvements and liberality, 
30, 31. 
Cooper, David Zeigler, 163, 161. 
Cooper Female Seminary, 184. 
Cooper Hydraulic, 172. 
Cooper Park, 26, 30, 119, 164, 190, 196. 
Corwin, Thomas, 179. 
Council, Town, 109, 163, 164. 

City, 222. 
Court-house, 89, 155, 185. 
Co.^, Miss, 184. 

Crane, Judge Joseph H., 70, 78, 80, 81, 
106, 108, 109, 121, 1.33, 179, 186, 187. 

quoted, 90. 
Curwen, quoted, 27, 55, 59,61,67, 104, 176, 
193, 194. 

History of Dayton, 67, 68, 238. 
Cut money, 60. 

Dabst, Abram, 100, 141, Hw. 
Davles, Edward W., 98, 108, 162. 
Davis, Dr. John, 190. 
Dayton, site purchased, 20. 

laid out, 21. 

named, 21. 

settled, 21-25. 

in ISaviSOS, 25. 

made county-seat, 55, 64. 

incorporated, as a town, 83. 
as a city, 23.3. 

location and area, '221. 

population, 221. 

government and institutions, 221 
el scq. 

from 1840 to 1896, 183 ct scq. 

In the Civil War, 202 ct scq. 
Dayton, General Jonathan, 20, 29, 216. 

Dayton Academy, 92, 145. 
Dayton bank, first, 90, 126. 
Dayton Female Charitable and Bible 

Society, 130. 
Dayton Foreign Missionary Society, 

Dayton Library Association, 190. 
Dayton Lyceum, 160. 
Dayton Social Library Society, 84. 
Dayton Temperance Society, 153. 
Dayton View Hydraulic, 1.57. 
De Bienville, 17. 

Deaconess Hospital, 195, 196, 226. 
Debt, bonded, 224, 225. 
Detroit, 78. 

Dickson, Miss Mary G., 184. 
Disbrow, Henry, 99, 105, 106. 
Doddridge, quoted, 33. 
Dover, Mrs. Thomas, 35. 
Doyle, Major, 46. 
Drake, Dr., quoted, 25. 
Dunlevy, Hon. Francis, 55. 

Eakeb, ■\Vii,lia3I, 101, 102, 109. 

Earthquakes, 110. 

Edgar, Robert, 31, 100. 

Election, first town, 61. 

Electric light, 193. 

Elliott, Dr. John, 25, Si, 97. 

Emerson Club, 196, 227. 

Empire office mobbed, 207. 

Engle, George, 108. 

Episcopal Church, St, Thomas, 140. 

Christ, 140. 
Este, Dr. Charles, 107. 
Evangelical Association, Emmanuel 
Church, 235, 

Fales, Stephen-, lOS. 

Ferries, 88, 89, 128. 

Findlay, Rev. James B., 92. 

Fire Department, 140-144, 194, 22,3. 

Fire-hunting, 59. 

Fire-insurance companies, 197, 228. 

Fires, U«, 140, 141, 142, 14S. 

First book published, 23i. 

First brick building, 84. 

First briclv residence erected, 96. 

First bridge, 136. 

First lousiness house erected, 32. 

First oanal-boat built. 151. 

First child horn, 53. 

First county court, 55, 64. 



First county lair, 173. 

First court-house, 54, 55. 

First court-house built, 89. 

First drug-store, 109. 

First flatboat to New Orleans, S-3. 

First flood, 86. 

First graveyard, CI. 

First industries established, 61, 233. 

First jail, 54. 

First Jail built, 6C. 

First justice of The peace, 61. 

First library in Ohio, S4. 

First lime made, 53. 

First male child born, 67. 

First niarket-house, 131. 

First mayor, 92. 

First mechanics' society, 125. 

First meeting-house, 61. 

First mill built, 61. 

First minister, 26. 

First musical society, 71. 

First newspaper, 89. 

First passenger station, 236. 

First postmaster, 34, 78. 

First postofflce, 78. 

First railroad company organized, 

First school, 34. 
First school-teacher, 34. 
First sermon, 2C, 233. 
First settlers, 21. 
First store opened, 32. 
First street-railway, 194. 
First telegraph message, 193. 
First temperance society, 153. 
First theater, 133, 134. 
First town election, 64. 
First wedding, 57. 
Fish, i:38. 
Flatboating, 104. 

Flint, Rev. Timothy, quoted, 132. 
Floods, 86, 158, 192. 
Folkerth, John, 84, 92, 109. 
Forrer, Samuel, 99, 170, 171, 
quoted, 99, 127, 137, 177. 
Fort Greenville, 48. 
Fort Hamilton, 25, 30, 32, 40, 42, 54, 

Fort Jeflerson, 40, 42. 
Fort Washington, 40, 42, 214, 215. 
Fort Wayne, 78. 
Fourth of July celebrations, 106-109, 


Franklin, 78, 139. 

Friday Afternoon Club, 196, 227. 

GA3LE, 13S. 

Gano, General, 119. 
Gano, John Stites, 20. 
Gas, 193. 

Gas, natural, 197. 
Gebhart, Frederick, 199, 200. 
Gebhart, George, 199. 
Gebhart, Herman, 199. 
George, William, 78, 79. 
Gist, 17, 18. 

quoted, 18. 
Glass, Francis, 140. 
Glassmire, Abraham, 21, 22, 33. 
Goforth, William, 20. 
Greene, Q'harles Russell, 87, 88, 109, 

Greenville, Fort, 48. 
Greenville, treaty of, 20. 
Greer, Rear-Admiral, 209. 
Gridiron, 146. 

Grimes, Alexander, 98, 149. 
Grimes, Colonel John, 98. 
Grimes's Tavern, 98, 107. 
Gunckel, Hon. Lewis E., 187. 

"H, H."Ci.UB, 196,227. 
Haines, Dr. Job, 93, 130, 141, 190. 
Hamer, William, 21, 128. 
Hapiilton, Alexander, 214, 215. 
Hamilton, Fort, 25, 30, 32, 40, 42, 54, 

Hamilton County, 61. 
Hanna, James, 92. 
Harmar, Fort, 214. 
Harmar, General, 214, 215. 
Harmonia Society, 196, 227. 
Harries, John, 139. 
Harrison, General W. H., 122, 174, 175, 

176, 177, 179. 
Harrison campaign, 174 et seq. 
Harshman, Jonathan, 93, 95, 96, 168, 

Haynes, Judge Daniel A., 165, 179, 186, 

Hebrew cemetery, 186. 
Hebrew congregation, first, 191. 
Herald, 198. 
High School, 184, 222. 
Hildreth, cited, 24. 
Historical and statistical tables, 221. 



Hiytory of Dayton, material for, 67, 

Hogs introduced, 33. 
Holt, Colonel Jerome, 64, 109, 123, 124. 
Holt, Judge George B., 147, 149, 165. 
Hospitality, early, 178. 
Hospitals, 115, 195, 196, 226, 227. 
Houk, Adam, 108. 
Houston, George S., 80, 126, 129, 133. 
HowoUs, W. C, quoted, 51, .52, 59. 
Howells, W. D., quoted, 59, 60. 
Howe's "Historical Collections of 

Ohio," quoted, 170, 171. 
Huffman, William, 110, 111, 133, 134. 
Hutlinan, William P., 111. 
Hull, General, 120, 121. 
Hunting, 60, 138. 
Hunting-grounds, Indian, 18, 19. 
Hydraulics, 157, 172. 

IMPKOVING the town, 163. 
Incorporated companies, 228. 
Incorporation, as a town, 83. 

as a citj', 235. 
Indian villages, 17. 
Indians, early experiences with, 27, 

28, 31, 38, 39, 56. 
Indians, wars with, 19, 20. 
Industrial and commercial, '22S€tscq. 
Infirmary, 224. 

Jackson, Andrew, 185. 
Jail, .54, 126, 127, 185. 
Jefferson, Fort, 40, 42. 
Jennison, William, 167. 
Jewett, Dr. Adams, 190. 
Jewctt, Dr. Hibberd, 95, 190. 
Journal, 197. 

oflice burned, 206. 
Jubilee of the United States, 108, 109. 

IvEET.-ltO.'VTS, 105. 

Kentui-lcy, incursions from, IS. 
King, Colonel Edward A., 193, 203, 206. 
King, Hufus, quoted, 12.^. 
King, William, 70, 77, 78. 
Knox, (ionoral, 43, 214. 
Koblor, Rev. John, 26, 127, 233. 

L.v UoniK RivKii, 17. 
Lafnycll.', di'ath of, 162. 
Lancasti-rUln instruction, 145. 
Latitude and longitude, 221. 

Levees, 72, 86. 

Libraries, 74, 84, 8.3, 160, 190, 222. 

Lime first made in Dayton, 53. 

Lincoln, Abraham, 187, 202, 208. 

Literary societies, 196, 227. 

Location and area, 221. 

Log cabin described, 52. 

Lof; Cabin, 75, 174. 

Logan, Colonel, 19. 

Lowe, Colonel John G., 109, 207. 

Lowe, Mrs. John G., 113, 114. 

'Lowe, Peter P., 108, 147. 

Lowry, David, 33, 102. 

Ludlow, Colonel Israel, 20, 21, 29, 49, 

63, 213 et seq. 
Lutheran Church, First English, 


Mad River, 18, 19, 20, 22, 30, 48, 49, .51, 

62, 172, 173, 221. 
Maennerchor Society, 196, 227. 
Mails, 7S, 79, 80. 
Manual-labor school, l;jo. 
Manual-training school, 184, 222. 
Manufacturing interests, 196, 197, 229 

et seq. 
Marietta, 24. 

Market-house, 131, 153, 154, 224. 
Markets, 171, 172, 224. 
Marriages, early, 62. 
JIayor, 221. 
first, 92. 
SIcClure, William, 78, 79, 99. 
McCuUum's Tavern, 65, 84, 119, 125. 
McDaniel, Charles A., 209. 
McDaniel, James, 165. 
MoDermont, Dr. Clarke, 190. 
McGuffey, Rev. W. H., 165. 
JIcMahon, Hon. John A., 186. 
McMillan, C?ideon, 146. 
Jle.Mullin, Captain John, 146. 
Mechanics' Institute, Iftl. 
Jlcclianics' society, first, 125. 
Medical profession, 190. 
Medical societies, 129. 130. 
Meigs, Governor. 118 et seq. 
Mercantile interests, 197, 22S et seq. 
Merchants, early, UW, 
Methodist church, first, 127, 128. 
Mexican War, lir2, 193. 
Miami City, 1S5. 
^Jianli l!rpiiliUea>i and Dayton Atlier- 

tiser, 147. 



Miami River, Big, or Great, 17, 18, 22, 
62, IM, 10.5, 221. 
navigable, 1{M. 

Miami River, Little, 18, 20, 21.5. 

Miami Valley, its beauty and fertil- 
ity, 18. 

Miami villages, 17. 

Military companies, 227. 

Military history, 19, 111, 112, 116 et seq., 
192, 19.3, 202 et seq. 

MitcheU, James H., 92. 

Mobs, 94, 95, 206, 207. 

Money, 60. 

Montgomery County Agricultural 
Fair, first, 173. 

Montgomery County Agricultural 
Society organized, 173. 

Montgomery County Bible Society 
organized, 144. 

Montgomery separated from Hamil- 
ton County, 64. 

Moral Society, 132, 133. 

Morgan's raid, 206. 

Morrison, Thomas, 166, 167, 174. 

Morus viulticaulis, 173. 

Mozart Jlusical and Literary Society, 
196, 227. 

Mt. Vernon, 139. 

Munger, General, 118, 119, 121. 

Munger, "Warren, 139. 

Musical societies, 196, 227. 

Natios"ai. Guard, 227. 

National Hotel, 1.53. 

National Military Home, 209, 210, 227. 

Natural advantages of the Miami 

region, 18. 
Natural gas, 197. 

Navigation of Miami River, 104, 10.5. 
New Orleans a market for Dayton 

produce, 104, 105. 
Newcom, Colonel George, 21, 53-57, 

126, 133. 
Newcom, Mrs. George, 56. 
Newcom's Tavern, 27, 30, 32, 53, .54, 65, 64. 
News, 197. 
Newspapers, 89, 99, 109, 110, 128, 129, 146, 

147, 148, 197, 198, 225. 
Night schools, 222. 
Normal school, 184, 222. 

Gdmn, Petek, 109, 168. 

Ohio admitted into the Union, 64. 

Ohio Ccntinel, 109, 110, 126. 

Ohio Laud Company, 17, 20, 87, 88. 

Ohio National Journal^ 147. 

Ohio Republican, 128. 

Ohio Watchman, 128, 129. 

Oregon, 18.5. 

Original settlers, 21, 23, 24. 

Ori^hans' Home, 194. 

Osborn, C>'rus, 78. 

Pakeott, Colonel E. A., 204. 

Passenger trains, 229, 237. 

Patterson, Colonel Robert, 19, 82, 83, 
108, 216. 

Patterson, Jefferson, 108. 

Patton, Matthew, 99, VXi, 141. 

Peirce, Joseph, 80, 106, 111, 13:3. 

Periodicals, 198, 225. 

Perrine, James, 148. 

Perrinc, Johnson V., 109. 

Petition to Congress, 62, 6.3. 

Philharmonic Society, 196, 227. 

Phillips, Horatio G., 108, 111, 112, 137. 

Phillips, J. D., 112, 113, 178, 179. 

Phillips, Mrs. Horatio G., 113. 

Physicians, 190. 

Pioneer life, 3;3, 51 et seq. 

Piqua, 17. 

Plats of the town, 64, 75. 

Plej'el Society organized, 71. 

Police Department, 181, 185, 22.3. 

Police matron appointed, 237. 

Political clubs, 227. 

Political excitement, 158, 159, 161, 192, 

Population, 221. 

Postage, early, 79, 80. 

Postoffice, 78. 

Postofflce statistics, 229. 

Presbyterian Church, First, 61, 65, 
107, 108, 174, 191. 

Presbyterian meeting-house, 61, Uo. 

Present Day Club, 196, 227. 

Press, see Ne\\'spapers. 

Press, 198. 

Probate Court opened, 236. 

Processions of school-children, 146, 

Protestant Deaconess Home and Hos- 
pital, 195, 196, 226. 

Protestant Deaconess Society, 195. 

Public Library, 190, 222. 

Public schools, 1.57, 18.3, 184, 223 



Kailkoads, steam, 193, 194, 221, 236, 237. 

street, 194, 228, 236, 237. 
Rebellion, War of the, 202 et seq. 
Reeve, Dr. J. C, 190. ' 
Belormed Church, First, 191. 
Regans, Jephtha, 147. 
Reid, Colonel, 98, 99. 
Reid, Major David, 109, 118. 
Reid's Inn, 98, 99, 107, 109, 122, 140. 
licperiory, 99. 
Rike, D. L., 200, 236. 
Roads, 102, 103, 221. 
Robert, Prof. J. A., 196. 

Sabbath-Schooi, Association, 1.36. 
Sandusky, 139, 194. 
Schenck, Admiral James F., 209. 
Schenck, General Robert C, 108, 157, 

160, 165, 168, 179, 187, 188, 205. 
Schenck, General W. C, 34, 49. 
School convention, 165. 
School enumeration, 222. 
School-houses, public, 169, 222. 
Schools, public, 157, 183, 181, 222. 
church, 184, 226. 
private, 34, 154, 155, 181, 226. 
manual-labor, 155. 
Settlement, the, 21-25. 
Settlers, original, 21, 23, 24. 
Sewers, 197, 228. 
Sheep first brought to Daj'ton, 33, 

Sherman, Senator John, quoted, 189. 
Shows, 140. 

Shuey, Rev. \V. J., 238. 
Silk manufactory, 160. 
Silkworms, culture of, 173. 
Site of Dayton purchased, 20. 
Slave captured in Dayton, 93, 94. 
Smith, George W., 101, 102, 107. 
Smith, William M., 92, 106. 
Social, cycling, and other clubs, 227. 
Society of Associated Bachelors, 132, 

Soldiers' Home, 209, 210, 227. 
SoUlicrs' Monument, 210, 211. 
Sonic, Charles, 161, 179. 
Southern Ohio Asylum, 227. 
Spilling, Judge Isaac, 76, 77, 107, lOS. 
S|iriiigllcld, 19, Ui8, 236. 
Squlcr, Duvid, 60, 109. 
St. Clair, Governor Arthur, 20, 29, 40, 

215, 216. 

St. Elizabeth Hospital, 195, 226, 227. 

St. Henry's Cemetery, 186. 

St. Joseph's Institute, 226. 

St. Mary's Institute, 226. 

Stage-coaches, 138, 139. 

Stebbins, Colonel, 108. 

Steele, Dr. John, 95, 107, 115, 116, 129, 

Steele, Judge James, 79, 89, 90, 91, 93, 

106, 107, 108, 121, 122, 126, 141. 
Steele, Miss Mary D., 91. 

History of Dayton, 238. 
Steele, Robert W., 67, 68, 91, 184, 186. 

quoted, 69. 

biographical sketch, 91, 200. 

History of Dayton, 238. 
Steele High School, 184, 222. 
Steele's Dam, 157. 
Stillwater, 221. 
Stites, Major Benjamin, 20. 
Stoddard, Henry, 85, 94, 139. 
Stores, early, 104. 
Stout, David, 135, 228. 
Strain, Robert, 131. 
Street improvements, 197, 228. 
Street-paving, 197, 228. 
Street-railways, 194, 228, 236, 237. 
Strong, Lieutenant-Colonel Hiram, 

205, 207. 
Sun Inn, 137. 

Swaynie's Tavern, 153, 173. 
Symmcs, John Cleves, 20, 63, 216. 

Tax Commission, 224. 
Taxes, early, 62, 64, 233, 234. 

1894-96, 224. 
Tecumseh, 19, 109. 
Temperance society, 153. 
Tennery, George T., 92. 
Theater, first, 133, 134. 
Thespian Society, 80. 
Thomas, Rev. Thonuis E., 76. 
Thompson, ISIrs. Samuel, 23, 27. 
Thompson, Samuel, 21, 23, 27. 
Thresher, Ebenezer, 198, 199. 
Thrustou, Robert A., 108. 162. 
Times, 197. 

Trains, passenger, 229, 237. 
Transportation, early, 102, 103, 104, 

Turnpikes, 168, 169, 170. 
Turpln, James, 75, 76, 184. 
Twiglitwee villages, 17, 



Union Biblical Seminary, 226. 
Union Passenger Station, 236. 
United Brethren Church, First, 191. 
Urbana, 78, 79. 

Vallandigham, Clement L., 188, 

189, 206. 
Van Cleve, Benjamin, 21, 25, 34 et seq., 

5.5, 57, .58, 62, 67, 68, 78, 79, 83, Hi, 

92, 106, 107, 109, 126. 
quoted, .34, 49, 63, 69. 

" Memoranda," 3-5, 36. 
biography of, 35 et seq. 
historian of Dayton from 1795 to 
1821, 36. 
Van Cleve, Captain "William, 21, 22, 

119, 120. 
Van Cleve, John, 27, 36, 37, 38, 39. 
Van Cleve, John W., 58, 67 et seq., 85, 

93, 108, 141, 142, 148, 174, 186. 
quoted, 25, 85, 86, S7. 
biography of, 67 et seq. 
historian of Dayton, 67. 

Van Cleve, Mary, 27, 28. 

Venice, plans for a town named, 

VolkS'ZeUung, 198. 

War or 1812, HI, 112, 116 et seq. 
Washington, B'ort, 40, 42, 214, 215. 
Water-worlis, 194, 223. 
Wayne, General Anthony, 20, 44. 
Welsh, Dr. James, 92, 97, 106. 

West Dayton, 185. 

Westfall, Cornelius, 83. 

Wheelocit, Major Daniel W., 164. 

Whig Glee Club, 76. 

Whiting, Swansey, 83. 

Whitten, Mary, 57, 58. 

Widows' Home, 195, 227. 

Wight, Collins, 93, 114. 

Wilbur, Rev. Backus, 136. 

Wilkinson, General James, 20, 29, 216. 

Williams, John H., 76, 78. 

Williams, Milo G., 93, 165, 184. 

Wilson, Mrs. Jane Newconi, 53, 56. 

Winters, J. H., 186. 

Winters, Mrs. J. H., 196. 

Winters, Valentine, 199. 

Wolf Creek, 221. 

Woman's Christian Association, 195, 

Woman's Literary Club, 196, 227. 
Women's literary clubs, 196, 227. 
Wood, General T. J., 211. 
Woodland Cemetery, 71, 72, 186. 
Work-house, 22.3. 

Xenia, 19. 

Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion, 195, 226. 
Young Men's Institute, 226. 
Young Women's League, 195, 226. 

Zanesville, 78. 

Public Buildings. 

A. Court Houae. 

B. First Prc-stiyterian Church. 

C. Second PrcBbyterian. " 

D. Wethodiat " 

E. Campbellite Baptist " 

F. Union " 

G. Epistopal " 
il. Germim Reformed " 
I. Catholic " 
J. Academy. 

K. Free School- House. 
L. Do 

Manufacturing Estal>lJshments. 

a. Flouring MiU. 

b. Fulling Mill. 

c. Machine Shop, 
d Turning Lathea. 

e. Miami Cotion MiU. 

f. Flouring Mill. 

g. ClcK'a Cotton Mill 
b. Saw Mill. 
i. Clegs'a Cotton Mill. 
j. Gun-hancl Factory. 
k. Ccwper Cotton Mill. 
1. Carpet Factory, 
m. Corn Mill, 
n. Clock Fnctorr. 
0. Saw Will. 


BY JOH>' ^'. "S'AN CDEVE, 1S39. 



0TY OF Dayton 

O H I Q 



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